What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen lately?
If I could have seen myself, it would have been me as I climbed over a fense into a field with a bunch of cows to go around a pack of angry dogs that were on our hiking trail and scared the stuffing out of me when they started to chase me off their path.
I know the cows thought I looked funny trying to quietly sneak through their pasture since they made a fuss and blew my cover and attracted the pack’s attention. Darn cows!
Describe a typical day:
Banos is a small little town with some fun trekking options as well as natural hot springs. A typical day has a small bread breakfast and a packed lunch before heading out into the surrounding hills to do some day hiking. Usually the packed lunch is eaten overlooking a waterfall or the town itself. In the afternoon, we will sometimes go to a local cafe which shows a random movie each day and draws a fun crowd of locals and travellers alike. The evenings are usually spent with pretty much everyone else in town at the local hot springs. It’s cheap and a nice way to enjoy the cool evening air (without getting cold).
Describe an interesting conversation you had with a local:
South American kids are adorable and if you spend any time on the buses, odds are you’ll have one in your lap before the trip is done. The smart parents are happy to unload their kids for an afternoon onto some stranger who can entertain them with an iphone for hours.
This one young girl basically hopped into my lap on the way to Banos. She asked me where my children were (don’t have any) and then why I didn’t have any children since I was married. That was not an easy question to answer.
We talked a bit about Canada before I brought out my iPhone and we started using a paint application to draw shapes and people. She was adorable. She would “wipe” the iPhone paint off her finger on my sleeve before changing colours for her pictures.
Honestly, kids make for the best conversations while travelling.
What do you like about where you are? Dislike?
Banos is a beautiful little town. The natural beauty of South America continues to stand out. Also, away from the Galapagos, Ecuador is quite affordable.
As for dislikes, I didn’t like getting chased off my hiking path by a pack of dogs! That’s an easy one. There are so many stray and domestic dogs in South America you get used to being barked at. But this pack was different and took their aggression to the next level. Not having my rabies shot meant I was in no mood for a nasty bite and I made a run for it.
Describe a challenge you faced:
During this time, my wife and I were joined by a third close friend. She isn’t a vagabonder like my wife and I however and only had a month’s time to travel. Our problem was how to travel together without spending like a two week vacationer while still seeing all of the South American highlights that she wanted to see in a short period of time.
What new lesson did you learn?
Basically that you really cannot travel well with someone that has a different money/time balance. We ended up splitting after two weeks since she needed to move faster than we wanted to due to her time constraints.
Continuing south to Peru.