Where are we?

Baños de Agua Santa

Thursday Nov 21

Wow we've had a busy 2 days here in Baños!  When we arrived on Tuesday afternoon we found our spot to camp for the next 3 days. A great spot close to the center, nice grassy spot and its quiet. Also have wifi! Yeahhh!  Once we got set up we headed to the center. It was raining, so just took the umbrella along to so some sight-seeing. We can see a huge waterfall right outside of Vanna :)  We walked over to the hot pools, but will go into them later.

This town is full of tour outlets, hostels and massage places!! There must be 10 per block in a 1 square block area. All close to the hot pools.  We go and have a coffee hoping the rain will stop. Once it did slow down a bit we went across the street to see what tours are available.  There are jungle tours for 3-4 days which we dont want. The idea of sleeping on probably a 1" mattress doesnt thrill us. A day trip in is enough. So we find one that seems to have alot of variety for one day for ony $25ea so we book for the next morning at 9am.

We keep wandering around the town and finally end up at a place to have a massage - both of us for 1.5hrs for only $35!! Can't beat that. When we were finished we were completely relaxed! Even my right leg which is giving me some pain grief from I'm guessing my hip, was even better. Won't need to take tylenol tonight!  Didn't help my left shoulder though, not sure why it's aching. Just gettin' old I guess LOL!!!

By the time we get back to Vanna it's 6pm. We take a quick shower that is here at the campsite and then I make us supper. We wont be going to the hotsprings tonight.

Waterfall right behind where we are camped

A pond by the restaurant we are parked behind

Main church in Baños

Beautiful courtyard at the side

How they make taffy here

And for only 25 cents you can get a glob of it! Yummy!!
Wednesday we got up early and ready to walk over to tour office. The bus arrived and after picking up some more people at different hotels we were off. But about 30 minutes into the drive we come to a stop and long lineup of traffic.  Found out the part of the road washed out last night and they are fixing it. Road wont be open until around 1pm.  So our guide got us thru some side streets and eventually close to a waterfall that we can walk to while we wait for the road to open.

Waiting on the main street for the tour bus

The lineup before the road repair

Walk towards the falls

I can't not go in! Didnt know to bring a bathing suit - ahh just take off my pants and I'm IN!!!

It's great in here!!
Going back on the trail is a little harder then coming!
 After we get back to the bus, we still have to wait another half hour and finally we got thru. We still have a long ways to go for lunch and the other activities for the day! We get to the restaurant around 1:30 and by the time we finished our chicken, rice, beans and plantain lunch it was close to 2:30.  We got back on the bus and headed to a small community to learn about their culture.

We arrive at Indigenous village of  Wayuri  where the Quichua Indians live and go into a large communal building where we get to sip a ceremonial "drink" not sure what it was but think it's chicha. Anyways I took only a tiny sip because I think I know how this drink is made! (an alcoholic drink made by masticating maiz, rice or yuca and fermenting the juice) That means chewed corn, rice or yuca by the women and then spit out and fermented!! But you can't refuse it!

We then get our faces painted by the young girls using achiote fruit which produces a red stain. The girls use a toothpick that is put into the fruit and then they put it on our face :)

Then there was a demonstration of how to use the blowgun. These guys can hit a target 150m away! We all get to try the blowgun to try and hit the target which is 30' away.

After that we got to see the girls do a ceremonial dance with the guys chatting and banging on a drum. All really interesting. Then it was a short walk around the community and into their crafts building where crafts could be bought.  I just bought another bracelet :)

To get to the community we have to cross this suspension bridge over the rive

This cute monkey kept everyone busy

Serving the chichi

Just a little sip Dwayne!!

The young girl that put the achiote stain on our faces

Don't we look scary!!

This girl was pretty elaborate with her face painting

Of course he hit right on the little red dot target

I hit the target but not the little red spot

Dancers and drummers

The monkey was very comfortable sitting on this tourist's head

You could hold this boa - but will cost you $1 😉

After leaving the village we cross the suspension bridge again and do down to the river bank and get into dugout canoes for a trip down the river. At least they gave us lifejackets! Because there were a few rapids that we had to go over and these dugouts are not that steady!! But we made the trip. Didn't get any pictures because left the camera in the bus JUST incase we tipped!!

These are the dugout canoes we went down the river in. 
It is now 4pm and we still have two more stops to make!  First we are going to climb up to a bar where there is a huge rope swing!

The river we were on drains into the Amazon river (this pic is of the river we were on where it gets wider

Yup Dwayne got on the rope swing - I chickened out. Only 2 people in our group would do it! LOL!!

And there he goes!

Many "stairs" to climb to get to the top

Carvings made in the hillside

Small cave - didnt go in
After this I was really ready to go back to Baños but one more stop at a cocoa farm.

Cocoa fruit once ripe is opened and pods are taken out to dry

Once dried they look like this

Then roasted over a fire until the shell cracks

then we peel the beans and cocoa is put into the bowl

Beans are put into this hand grinder 

And chocolate paste is made 

Our drive back to Baños takes 2 hours so we didnt get back until after 8pm  We were POOPED!!! Didnt take long before we had a snack and in bed!!

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