Tuesday 16 November 2010

Dónde está Baños?

Baños (the town) is Ecuador's answer to Queenstown.  It is also the word for toilet (well, more like bathroom), so we were used to saying "Dónde está el Baños?", which is fairly confusing when you say it in a bus station in Baños, as one of the girls on our tour found out...

The town is an adventure sport mecca.  Sadly we only had 1.5 days there, so I opted to cram in rockclimbing, ziplining, and canyoning.

For rockclimbing it was just myself and a guide.  We took a taxi to the cliff, where Paulo promptly solo-ed a 20m 5.9 in his sneakers (!?) to set up a top rope for me.
me: Where are the bolts?
Paulo: At the top.
me: Aren't you using any protection?
Paulo: No, is easy.
me: OK...
The rock was basalt, and super slippery.  I did what he called the 5.9 comfortably, had a couple of rests on the 5.10b, and a really messy attempt at the 5.10c.  I am sooo out of practice :(

A quick, head-first zip line across the river and it was back to town to meet the canyoning guide.

It was my first time canyoning, and I seem to remember reading that you are supposed to avoid canyons when it is raining due to the risk of flash flooding.  This was making me uneasy since it had started pouring with rain at lunchtime and didn't look like stopping any time soon.  Our guide looked at the water in the canyon and decided it was OK, which didn't inspire me with confidence but we went anyway.  The guide, Marta (from the tour) and I abseiled down 5 waterfalls, ranging from 8 to 30-something metres.  Awesome fun.

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