Underwater Jesus, Llama Jumpers and Not Seeing Boobies

I was glad of the early Friday night as today I went diving. I was a bit nervous as I hate first getting in the water and going under. I can't help but panic. Plus I had really bad seasickness on the boat. The first dive was to a sunken ship and a statue of Jesus, it was pretty cool to see. The second dive was around the reef and there were huge schools of fish and we saw a large stingray. 

We got back to Montañita around 3pm and I was starving. I walked into town and now it was time for weirdo number 2. A guy waved at me from down the street. It was the guy who had been giving out flyers to the bar on Thursday night. He had also talked to me in the club and tried to sell me drugs. My face must have said it all as he was saying sorry for doing that. Then he asked me what I was doing. He recommended a good place to eat and then insisted on showing me where it was. Then he insisted on sitting with me and eating even though he was meant to be working! He said it was Latin American culture to be touchy feely and took every opportunity to stroke my arm and tell me how beautiful he thought I was. Cringe. I just wanted to bloody eat some nice food. Not be subjected to a meal of more fish and rice whilst being groped by a stranger. After telling me lots of stories that involved threesomes and other sexual activities, he said he would like to travel to Quito with me on the bus on Monday. Ergh. Luckily he left after this although I do now have free entry to the club plus drinks! Montañita has about 4 streets in a grid, and my mobility is starting to be rather restricted! 

After dinner I met with the Swiss group again for more beers and cocktails. We bumped into some of the people from Spanish school and we all ended up going to a club playing electronic music. I got back to the hostel fairly late and the doors were locked. Eek. I had to stand outside knocking until the owner came and opened the door. 1.5 hours sleep before having to be up for the Isla de la Plata tour.

We got the 7.30am bus that took us to the town where the tour started from. When we got there the guy hadn't turned up yet. We had a coffee, all 7 of us sat saying nothing, tired and hungover. When the guy finally did turn up, the other group that had booked were not there yet. Precious sleep time wasted. Finally we were able to get on the boat and we set off to the island. Isla de la Plata is dubbed a 'mini galapagos' where you can see blue footed boobies, seals, turtles etc. The sea was pretty rough and my seasickness came back. After about half an hour the engine started making a funny noise. Then a loud bang and a load of smoke came out. Yes, we had broken down mid sea. After a long time bobbing about in the sea, people vomiting overboard, they decided it couldn't be fixed and so used the one remaining engine to chug back to port. Just as we got near another boat came out for us to swap over to. Our group jumped over but the other group didn't want to because they all felt so ill. The tour guide wouldn't take just us out so they turfed us out at the port. Luckily we got our money back but it was so disappointing. We went for food, no one speaking, then got the bus back to Montañita. Sunday evenings are so quiet here. I met one of the Swiss guys in the evening. I really wanted a smoothie but nowhere was open. I settled on a beer (groan) and we went and sat on the beach for a while. I was so tired that I went to bed not long after. 

Monday we left in the afternoon for Guayaquil where we stayed overnight. Saying goodbye to the people I had met that week learning Spanish was hard and I was sorry I had to leave so soon. Next day we set off for a small town called Alausí where there is a famous train ride. The bus journey we were told would be around 2 hours. 4 hours later we were still sat there, twisting and turning up the mountains in the pitch black, no lights on in the bus. If I'd been on my own I would have been terrified. I was just a moderate amount of scared. Finally we pulled into the town. We were starving so went into the nearest restaurant. It was a typical Ecuadorian set meal, but was one of the nicest I've had. Soup starter, main meal and a drink for $2. The hostel was a little out of town so we got in a taxi. Going down a narrow dirt lane through a wooded area and the boot pops open. Does the taxi driver stop to close it? Of course not! It was pitch black. My paranoia set in, I was convinced someone was going to steal our bags. Then we stopped in front of a large electric gate. The taxi driver beeped. There was no sign saying it was a hotel. Forget the bags, now I thought we were being kidnapped! Luckily not, it was the hostel and a really nice one at that. It was a working farm nestled between the rolling hills. We had a few beers then bedtime. 

One of the guys pulled the short straw and had to get up at 7am to go get the train tickets as they sell out quickly. He kindly brought back some goodies for breakfast so we sat in the sun enjoying our eggs and peach juice. At 11am the train set off. The route is called Nariz del Diablo (The Devil's Nose) and was one of the most difficult to build railways of all time. The scenery was nice as we made our way up the side of the mountain, looking down at the streams. It took about 2.5 hours and included a small museum entrance and some traditional dancing. Once back at the village, there was not much else to do. We headed to the market to buy some ingredients with the intention of cooking. We didn't end up with any veg but we did end up with a bottle of rum. A huge bottle for $4! Back at the hostel we sat outside drinking rum and coke in the sun and playing music. Once it got dark one of the guys let me borrow a jumper, which was brown knitted with a llama pattern on. He was wearing a similar one also and we looked like 2 old men. The guy that ran the hostel went into town for us and picked us up a pizza and some more rum. The rest of the night we sat under the stars talking, no one else at the hostel. 

Not much interesting happening today as we set off for Banos, a town in the hills that has a lot of adrenaline activities. It took most of the day to get there. The highlight of today was going for dinner at a Swiss restaurant. The food was amazing. Just two of us went and we ordered a huge starter of mixed meats and cheeses. Then I had fish in a red wine and grape sauce with vegetables and potato rosti and a really nice wine to go with. So so good! 

Next day we got a minibus up to the swing at the end of the world. Which is basically a swing on the edge of a drop so it feels like your flying out over the valley. Pretty awesome. There was also a small zip line thing that we messed about on for a while. After lunch we did another chiva tour that took you to the zip lines over the valley and to the waterfalls. Then the hot springs in the evening. I was rather mortified at having to wear a bathing cap and almost didn't go in! You have to shower before going in but I didn't realise that the one I chose was a brutal torrent of ice cold water! There were hot showers that I hadn't noticed. Then we got in the small pool because it was less crowded. The reason being that the water was 40 degrees. I squealed and jumped out. Some old man was stood laughing at me, then pushed me out the way and got in. The upstairs pool was a touch cooler at 30 degrees so we sat there for a while, under the waterfall that was lit up as it was now nighttime. Went to a really nice Mexican restaurant then a few beers on the hostel roof terrace. 


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