Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hot springs and roast chickens

Well, it seems I haven't updated in two weeks, and that's no good.  In my defense, I was sick for almost half of it with something dreadful which I will assume is either Jungle Wasting Fever or cholera.  (Given the fact that I haven't been to the jungle yet, let's just say cholera... cholera's romantic.)  But to make up for my slacking, here is a picture of the mountains and waterfalls they built Baños in the middle of:

While the city itself is pretty touristy, the mountains all around are gorgeous like something right out of Middle Earth.  It's generally cool and rainy here, though I hear the dry season is supposed to begin soon.  There's a huge, snow-capped volcano named Tungurahua overlooking the town, which erupts every couple of months.  Baños is full of legends of the Virgin Mary stepping in and saving the town from boiling lava, as well as creating the waterfall overlooking the hot springs.

I've made friends with some lovely people from Ireland, England, and Alaska and have moved into a house with two of them.  We spend our time practicing Spanish with our landlord Markos and having pancake breakfasts and dinner parties.  (Fresh guacamole is my specialty these days, ever since Quito, and it's going over pretty well.)  Markos has commandeered me into roasting a chicken for him, ("Can you cook?  Do you cook chicken?  Good, somebody will bring a chicken over today and you can roast it.") which I am somewhat leery of.  I've roasted a duck before but never a chicken, and I am particularly terrified of having to disembowel it with my bare hands.  But we'll see how that goes.

Given sickness and busy-ness, I haven't actually been able to do any of the tourist things around Baños, which is the "adventure capital" of Ecuador.  I've gone on one mini-hike up a mountain to go see the volcano, and aside from that I've mostly been drinking tea in cafes and researching articles for the new blog I now write for.  (Incidentally, the link to it is here: in case anyone's curious.)  I've also been stalked by this hugely irritating tour guide who knows everyone and is everywhere in the center of town, and who keeps flagging me down and trying to buy me coffee.  I think the ultimate idea is to turn the tables once I'm sufficiently infatuated with him, because nothing gets me hot like a corpulent, middle-aged Ecuadorian man, and then leech as much money off me as he can.  (My flatmate has had this same trouble with a local creeper named Milton; Gringo-hunting is apparently a popular sport in these parts.)

Otherwise, it's good to have a clean place to stay in for a few weeks now.  A friend of mine for Baltimore is currently in Montanita on the coast, taking a course in TEFL, so I may head out that way to meet up with her afterwards.  But for now, I have a chicken to figure out how to roast!

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