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Ash’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 18 Dec 2007

Location: BaŮos, Ecuador

MapNo more long bus journeys, woo hoo. No more border crossings, woo hoo. Cold, grey & long nights, boo hoo. Well thatís apart from a 6 hour bus ride & 15 hour flight, but thatís almost enjoyable.

As expected, not much else to report from Cali. Friday night was a bit of a washout as it was a bunch of horny gringos jumping from one club to the next looking for single girls.
Sat night was much better as just 3 of us went out & I put my foot down saying we were staying in the first club we got to. It was a funky alternative ´electronica´ club and I got talking to most of the club including the DJ who falsely kept promising to play New Orderís ´Blue Monday.´
Other than that went to a pretty good Zoo, which gave me a nice realisation of how much wildlife Iíve actually seen in the wild since leaving.

I was very sad to be leaving Columbia after 5 brilliant weeks. The people were amazing; friendly, funny & very approachable. The scenery was beautiful; tropical to alpine. I didnít encounter one single moment of fear despite all the bullshit of it being one of the Worldís most dangerous countries. In fact, it was the most hassle free country Iíve been to in South America.
And as for the girlsÖ.perfecto!
One of my mottos is `never visit the same place twice. ` A, as thereís so much else to see & B, because it wonít be as good the 2nd time around. However, I can envisage a return to Columbia & I wouldnít even rule out spending considerable time in Medillin.
All this & Iím at the end of my trip, thus at my most cynical.
I probably shouldnít talk it up as the lack of tourism is probably half the reason itís so great.

With not a whole lot of time til my flight home & quite a lot of distance to cover, I decided to do most of it straight.
Started with an overnight bus through Guerrilla territory (I can say that shit now as in a few days all my mother will have to worry about is getting a bottle of Bud wrapped around my face ´darn tarn´).
Got to the Columbian border where the power went off for 3 hours whilst I was queuing for my exit stamp. Finally got into Ecuador where I was subject to 3 roadblock bag searches! The first being particularly unpleasant as an Ecuadorian sniffer got his pinkie out & rubbed it all over my backpack. Luckily my Spanish isn`t too bad these days so I was able to explain the copious amounts of unmarked coffee & stolen army cap!

6 buses later, I arrived here in Baños, a beautiful Ecuadorian town set in a valley overlooked by an enormous volcano.
Today, I went hiking up into the hills to get a view of the town & a closer look at the very active volcano. It actually started to erupt about 5 years ago & the town was evacuated but things are only on yellow alert these days but they still think it could be anyday. In fact, thereís been ash in the air all day which has pissed off my eyes.
Was a good energetic hike & I had soup & tea with a friendly farmer up in the hills. After getting back down, I thought Iíd enjoy one of the townís natural hot spas (´Baños´ means ´bathes´ in Spanish). The water was bloody 55 degrees and the locals were certainly amused as I went plum red.

One more day here where Iím going to go white water rafting. Can do it anywhere in the World but I never actually have so should be fun. Then itís to Guayaquil for my flight.
Look out for another entry either from Guayaquil or England, plenty more spiel left in me yet!