Jan 27th 2011
We arrived in Banos and found an hotel recommended in Marcus' book, Hostal Santa Cruz. Yes they really named that town "Banos" which basically means "toilets" in Spanish. It's a cool little town with many hostels, hotels and restaurents. They have rope swing off a few bridges, rafting, jungle tours and you can rent dune boggy, quads or bikes.
There are also a waterfall and some hot springs;
Many stores lined up in a row all selling the same stuff. It was interesting though to see them stretching that sugar candy.
No it isn't rats or squirrels, it's guinea pigs.
The next day we've met with Mark and Michael, from BC, Canada. We've been in touch by emails and met from the "HUBB", "Horizon Unlimited" website. They flew theirs bikes to South America, went to Tiera del Fuego and now were driving back to Canada. It was nice to meet with them and exchange infos about places we went.
We had a excellent meal at this fancy French restaurent, we had fondue bourguignone and good wine, the most expensive meal of my trip so far, it almost made me home sick since, we had that meal frequently at home.
Then we took a Volcano tour with one of these bus, you would not beleive how many there were.
We ended up on top of a mountain (volcano) just to see a whole bunch of people and a nice view of the city. I was hoping to see lava spitting out but anyway.
Had my last meal with Mark and Michael the next day. Marcus and I also left early afternoon to go see the Vocano Chimborazo at 6300m altitude. Supposedly the highest mountain of the world***, from the center of the Hearth. I enjoyed arguing with Marcus it doesn't make much sense to count it that way.
Marcus edited the videos I've taken with my helmet camera and uploaded it on youtube along with some picures, nice job!
The higher we went, the cooler it became, and also more deserted.
We stopped at a cabin at 4860m altitute the highest I've been so far on my bike.
Then went for a short hike to the other cabin you see behind me on the picture. It wasn't so easy, we could feel the lack of oxygen since we just arrived there and didn't take any time to get used to it...
Many climbers were going on top of Chimborazo from the 2nd cabin. About 10 hours to reach the summit and they start at 11pm and climb at night. It's cooler and the snow isn't melting at night.
My gps says 5049m altitude, and I have a headache.
Also met a biker by the name of Juan.
We wentback to our lower cabin. Free of charge to stay overnight.
We left the next morning, Marcus wasn't feel well due to the altitude, and I still had a headache that wasn't going away, so we left to a lower altitude.
And we headed towards Cuenca, a colonial town on the way to Peru
on the way we had a meal including a desert, for $1,50 can you beleive it?
Cuenca: nice old buildings.
I've bought some stuff such an external DVD recorder and external hard drive for photos and videos backup. I wanted to rent a movie, but they were only selling the pirate copies for a $1,50. Actual video stores at almost every corner selling pirate DVD's, CD's, games, etc, I couldn't beleive it!
I've spent 2 nights in Cuenca and left to Peru today; Feb 2nd. Marcus decided to stay another night. He met a girl in Colombia and wasn't sure what to do. He doesn't think he can make it to Tiera del Fuego on time before winter so he also prefer to take it slow and enjoy it more rather than rushing it. I think I can do both, we'll see.
Posts about Peru to come!