May 25, 2004

Swimming in the Baņos

From Riobamba, which was never more than a stopover, it was off to Guaranda, Ambato, and Baņos, a circle of road around Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador at over 6300m, the peak of which has the notable distinction of being the point on the Earthīs surface the farthest away from the Earthīs centre - Everest is higher when measured from sea level of course, but the earth bulges around the equator. Even the highway got to well over 4000m, pretty crazy.

Rule #1 of adapting to high altitude: donīt run up a hiking trail staircase to catch a bus. Trust me. The first 10 steps go alright, then aerobic metabolism takes over. Thatīs when you keel over, gasping for air.

Finally it was to Baņos, with a short delay after I missed my stop and had to cross the highway to flag down a bus going the other way. Baņos is the last stop heading east before you enter the Amazon basin - the town itself is a little resort town at 1800m, in a little idyllic valley, with a massive, and very active, volcano hanging over the town. In fact a few years ago it had a major eruption and the town had to be evacuated. So far, no pyroclastic flows, just a little steam.

Baņos gets its name from the local hot springs coming out of the volcano - "Baņos" seems to mean "baths" in spanish. Interestingly, as far as I can tell "Baņos" also can mean "bathrooms" and "toilets".

Anyways, Iīm off to my hostel, home of the "self-serve beer fridge" - just write down your room name and quantity and go right ahead. What a concept.

Posted by major at May 25, 2004 03:44 PM

Hi, Jon. It's great to know that you are well. I am going to enjoy living life vicariously through you. Being able to follow your journey certainly makes things easier for everyone left here to wish they were there. I'm sure we'll all learn alot as we journey along. All the best.

Posted by: Darlene Clare at May 26, 2004 02:25 PM

Go Flames!

Posted by: Halifax at May 27, 2004 12:06 AM
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