Hello everyone! A big welcome to the new followers of my blog and thanks to all of you for reading. Sometimes it feels a little lonely so, if you wouldn’t mind leaving a comment, I’d love to have a howdy from you!
Another week has gone by. We’ve now been in Ecuador 6 1/2 weeks and have 8 1/2 remaining.
The last two Sundays we have joined a small English speaking group for worship. The teaching portion of the service is via video cam because the pastor is in Tenneesse! We are two hours ahead of Pacific Daylight time so later in the day we tune into the webcast of our own denomination’s church services as well.
We are enjoying our down time and the weather has helped us to relax and take it slow. It’s been very gray, lots of clouds, rain, thunder and in the low 60s. Between that, and the tummy issue I’ve been dealing with this week we’ve stayed pretty close to home reading and researching. Those of you who know me and my dislike for gray skies will understand when I say I wondered whether my tummy issue could be brought on by the weather!
Days are pretty much planned around food! We eat two meals a day and a snack. Most days we drink our morning coffee and make eggs or fruit smoothies for breakfast in our apartment unless we’re craving other breakfast foods and then may go out for breakfast. We are a lot choosier these days because we have more to spend thanks to the fact that our accommodation expense has dropped to $25 a day. Some days we eat local dishes and some days we go for Italian, Mexican, American and even had Chinese this week. Of course, this is the high point of each day and we want to choose wisely often returning to a favorite place, yet always on the lookout for new cafes as well. Many evenings we drink tea and snack on fruit, and bakery items we’ve picked up or guacamole and chips.
Monday we visited the little town of Baños a few miles from here – home to spas and volcanic water pools. The town was nothing to speak off and the first places we wandered around didn’t look inviting either. Piedra del Agua Spa (Water Rock Spa) looked stylish – was built into the red rock walls – and smelled great! They had a Monday morning “Two for One” special we took advantage of. Spas have a reputation for being a retreat for women so it felt odd at first being there with my husband, but it was fun.
We changed into our swimwear, were given robes, and told to take a one minute cold shower before sitting in a steam room for 15 minutes, and then repeat another 1 minute cold shower and an additional 15 minutes in the steam room. We couldn’t sweat it out for the full 15 minutes without stepping out for additional cold showers!
After another cold shower we were taken outdoors to a red mud bath where we soaked and used the mud to exfoliate our bodies. After another rinsing shower we immersed our bodies into a pool of blue mud which they instructed us to rub all over and let dry. My skin felt silky after rinsing off the blue mud. Next we entered a cavern lit only by candles and soaked in a hot tub until the attendant directed us to a second pool – a cold pool and made sure we immersed in the cold waters for a full 2 minutes. After the initial shock I did relax and enjoy it, but was happy to return to the hot pool once again.
We had a major accomplishment this week. It only took two weeks but we finally figured out where to catch a bus that gets us home. Our apartment is a good 40-minute walk from El Centro on Gran Colombia, a one way street down here, but it turns to a two-way street closer in and then back to a one-way (but in the other direction!) There isn’t a true one way street heading into El Centro from here but we discovered where to catch buses traveling into El Centro. Buses are everywhere and traveling in all directions! The buses zig zag their way around the city whereas in Quito it was easy because they traversed the city via one long Avenida. The #100, #8, and the #16 buses rumble past us as we walk in to El Centro, but we have never discovered where to catch them! By trial and error we discovered the #3 and it stops practically in front of our apartment building.
This city is so affordable! Bus fares are only .25 each, a taxi ride costs between $1.50-$2 and most museums are free!