At last! I have finally gone to the hot springs! They were worth every cent of the $2 admission fee, and I'm kicking myself for not going sooner. (Luckily I have two more weeks in Baños, and I fully intend to go almost every morning.)
Yes, they really are that brown and sludgy looking, but it's from the sulfur and other minerals in the water, not from people's dirty feet. They pump the water in straight from the volcano, (my flatmate Johnny, who's big into homeopathic healing, goes everyday and he says that the pools are much hotter in the morning,) and when I went you could see the steam rolling off the surface of the water.
I wasn't expecting to be too impressed - in general no hot tub in the world is ever hot enough for me in my perpetual coldness - but the water was actually scalding and I could only get in by inches. But then I just sat around soaking in the warmth with a bunch of old people who've probably been doing this every morning for the past seventy years. And then when the heat got to be too much, I climbed out and stood under the jet of water diverted straight from the waterfall, and KABOOM! It was like a jolt of wakefulness straight to the heart and all my capillaries immediately constricted and the mountains looming in the distance seemed a hundred times more vivid. So I did this, back and forth from hot spring to waterfall, for about two hours and by the end of it I felt like a tiny god, just shiny and clean and pretty darn thrilled with the world and everything in it. So I think I'll be going every morning for the next two weeks.
Otherwise, I finished knitting my hat! I used the wrong-sized needles, so it's baggier than I think it should be, but the pattern is gorgeous.
I think something so intricate would be better suited to light yarn, so I'm trying this again with the last of my good yarn, periwinkle blue bamboo-ewe wool blend, hoping it doesn't run out by the end. So we'll see how that fares.