Woke up to a knock on my door today that I had a guest waiting for me in the lobby. Jose had arrived!
We caught up, and once again had oatmeal, bread with jam, and coffee for breakfast. It would be my last day with Andrea as she was taking off for Quito.
Jose had yet to see the town, so we walked around a bit. I really just planned on relaxing today since we had been non stop going since my arrival.
We strolled by the church in town and went inside to take some photos. Although we walk by it every day in the center of town I had not gotten around to actually checking it out.
We went inside the church, which was in session since it was a Sunday. It was really weird because half the people in there were tourists taking photos and in the way, flashes etc, and the other half did not look too pleased and were actually attending the mass.
After this, we kind of loosely were deciding what to do, and thought about doing the bike ride to the neighboring town Puyo. Picked up a bag of chopped sugarcane for a dollar, which you chew, was really tasty. In the end we decided to do the hike up to Mirador La Cruz Bellavista.
This was essentially a 45 minute semi-strenuous hike up to a cross that had a viewpoint of Banos.
To get here, we walked through the center of town on Ambato and the trail started at the end of the road on Maldonado.
We started our hike up the trail.
On our way there were some nice views
Until we reached the top
We hungout for a few minutes up here, which was cool because although we were up so high, we could see everything that was going on down in the city. We could hear music playing from the carnival, hear the sirens from the police car. It was like a sim-city. Gave a good overview of the city.
On the way back down the trail, it only took us about 20 minutes because we ran the whole way. We saw a vacant building so climbed through the barb wire to get some pictures. Real chill spot.
We strolled through the market in town
A little while later we got dinner with Kristal & Rich. They are heading South tomorrow to Cuenca. We talked about how close you get to people that you haven’t even known that long when down here, a certain type of bonding that you don’t experience except when traveling. Although we only have known eachother for a week we have gone through a lot of experiences together. And the amount of time we spent together in 1 week would probably take months in our everyday lives in the states. Things are just so much slower down here, we get to spend much more time together, never having to rush off and go anywhere. Every meal we have together is at least 1-2 hours.
Right now we are all watching Ted which I have seen 3x since I got here.
It’s funny, all the movies down here are rip-offs crappy quality that I guess you can buy for a dollar. But the people down here really wouldn’t be able to afford paying the $20 we pay for a DVD at home. Jose was talking to one of the shop workers and the minimum salary here is $350/month. So we really are rich compared to these people, no way they could afford to come out to our “gringo” restaurants paying $10 a meal.
Tomorrow we have plans to do the 60 kilometer bike ride to Puyo. This is supposed to be an awesome road, with tunnels going along the mountainside. There is zip lining etc along the way that we plan on doing. Once we get to Puyo we will catch a bus home.