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Baños

Written on: Tuesday September 11th, 2007

A journal entry from: Kevin and Julie's RTW

Author: Julie 

Hola! 

We woke up to a view of the mountains shrouded in mist and clouds. We were both tired, not sure what we wanted to do and see. What does one do when they don?t know what to do? They head for the thermal baths, of course! After a great little breakfast in the restaurant at the top of our hostel, we grabbed our bathing suits and headed for the Piscina de la Virgen located right around the corner from us, under the waterfall. There were two pools open: the first a large Olympic-sized pool with the water temperature being warm but comfortable. It was filled with people of all sizes and ages.  A bathing suit dress code was in effect but open to interpretation. A lot of the women would wear their underwear and bras under their suits and some even wore shorts. The second pool was much smaller and could only accommodate about 50 people but the water was almost unbearably warm, up to 53C. Slowly, one toe at a time we entered the pool till we were fully submerged. Every 5 minutes we would have to pop out of the water to cool down before sinking into the hot water once more. When we couldn?t bear the heat anymore, we would go drench ourselves in freezing cold water that was being diverted from the waterfall next to the baths. It was an instant shock to our bodies, but it felt refreshing after being so warm. 

Later on in the day, once we were relaxed enough, we headed towards the central area of Baņos to see the cathedral and the central plaza. Most, if not all Latin American towns and cities have a central plaza where the town citizens congregate every evening. It was no different in Baņos where many stalls were set-up and you could buy sweets, clothes, and drinks. As we were walking, we saw a guy standing on the sidewalk with a tandem bike pulling a bike trailer. We had to stop and ask where he was from and where he was headed. His name was Dominic Gill and he had biked from the oil fields of Alaska all the way to Ecuador on his way to the tip of South America in Argentina. He had been on the road for the past year and 3 months and had 7 months to go. He?s filming a documentary where anyone who wants to can hop onto the empty seat and join him for a few hours, days or weeks. We were intrigued with this idea and bombarded him with questions over supper and a few beers. His bike kit weights about 85kg and he?s had about 170 passengers ride with him since the start of his trip. He?s hoping to sell his documentary to the BBC or the discovery channel. They have expressed some initial interest but he won?t know till he?s done his trip. You can read his blog at www.takeaseat.org. He?s a wonderful story teller and all around great guy so please do read it.