Monday, November 19, 2012



We had a great sleep and a nice leisurely hang out while we waited for one of our group to get back from their mornging STEAMBATH in a box! Yep. They got those in Banos too.

We had decided on a restaurnt that had an attached hostal. It looked like it was just a few blocks from our location so we headed off on foot to find it. Once we arrived (with some directions from a local) we settled down to a huge breakfast of fruit, bread, juice, tea/coffee and omeltes, pancakes.  It was delicious and decadent!

Of course we needed to walk a bit more to get our food to settle before we clambered back into the car. On our route we found a beautiful Peacock sitting in a bush giving us the evil eye.
Then we came across a little weaving shop. Randy kept going, but I stopped with my friend..we were enchanted. The weaver (Carmela) had done all the rugs, wall hangings and table runners herself. Her loom was very old and she had a weaving on the loom. They were all wool and she used all natural dyes... well I was sunk..

Randy showed back up and I did my best to convince him that we needed a wall hanging... I am a real good convincer..

Carmela and my cool wall hanging!
Now we were off to Puyo. I have to say this is the prettiest drive. The land changes from very tropical to sandy and hot, then back to tropical. It was fabulous. There are alot of gondola type businesses as well as ziplining.. called Canopy. You are zooming out over a very wide and deep canyon.. empty your bladder before beginning the trip. We all passed on this experience.
One of 3 tunnels we passed through to get to Puyo
A real wide area of the river
Tried to get a picture of the huge ferns.. can you see that one compared to the truck?
We stopped in a little town of Mera and walked around. It was HOT! There was a sad shut down Gondola ride across from the main square, we all walked over and looked across the river as we tried to imagine having the nerve to actually ride in one.

We went through a town called Shell, named after the Oil company that was based there. It had some nice playground equipment and something like Disney Characters (picture was too blurred). It just seemed so out of place. The Oil company is now gone. The town is still there.

Once we got to Puyo, we were off to find the recommended Balsa store. Of course we forgot our directions that our friend Chuck had given us, so after getting directions from the Itur office and several folks on the sidewalk, I gave up and called Chuck. We all were grateful to pile back into the car with the air conditioning. Hot and Humid, we were not very appreciative of.

We found the Casa de Balsa. Its right on the main road as you come into Puyo, 3 story bldg, big sign.. sigh... we had driven right past it. We all supported the Balsa industry and piled back into the car to head back to Banos.
Our guy, in his new home..

After a quick lunch at a local almuerzo restaurant (oh yum it was great, big and $2) We hit a huge storm. Thunder lighting right over head and RAIN!  Gully Washer rain! We had to pull off the road cause we could not see..

Yeah, time to take a breather...
We arrived back in Banos and decided that a bathroom stop and Ice Cream were required to continue on to Riobamba for another overnite stay.

I must say here that we all wanted to find the SHORTEST route to Riobamba.. That did not happen.. we drove up and down the road, asking folks where the shortcut was.. police, GPS and locals... nada.. we ended up going up and down one long stretch of road 3 times before Randy decided he was taking over and making the decision to go to Amabato (off the map) then Riobamba.. no shortcut in the dark for us.

We ended day 3 about 7 pm in Riobamba, tired, and wore out, back at the Shalom hotel. Thank Goodness they had a rooms for the 4 of us. We crossed the road wolfed down a half decent burger, watched Ecuador beat Barcelona in Soccer and then went back to our rooms to relax... it had been one hell of a day!

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