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26 September 2012 / leggypeggy

Street scenes of Baños in the Andean highlands

Taffy puller

Taffy pulling—an important job in Baños

A 50-cent bus ride got us from our campground to Baños, a popular tourist town in central Ecuador.

Poor John and I, along with fellow traveller, Jong, walked out to the road and literally waved down the next passing bus. We scored an already full bus, so stood for the 25-mintue ride to town.

The scenery in the Andean highlands is impressive, even if we had to hunch over a bit to see out the windows. Plenty of mist (we were in the Cloud Forest), lots of waterfalls, steep slopes, many fields being cultivated and beautiful green pastures filled with cows that probably have two legs shorter on one side—how else can they cling to the cliffs?

Baños is officially known as Baños de Agua Santa (Baths of Holy Water). It lies in the shadow of the still active Tungurahua volcano. Everywhere we saw signs indicating which way to run if the volcano started playing up, but the most noise we heard was barking dogs and the laughter and chatter of kids getting out of school.

Evacuation sign

In case of a volcano—RUN!

We spent most of the day walking around town, but resisted offers to have massages or baths. We walked a long way to get a better view of the volcano,  but the cloud corner and absence of a path put a stop to that quest. We did, however, see several of the famous taffy/toffee pullers.

We also explored the main church, the food market and the most unusual cemetery I have ever seen. Stay tuned for more instalments.

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