I finally flagged down a police officer who pointed about 100 feet in front of me and there was HOSTAL Chimenea. Granny had stayed there before and really liked it, liked the low price, and has several times reminded me that the place we stayed at last February was a dump compared to the Chimenea. Of course, that was MY fault since I was pushing to stay there (at the Hotel Erupcion). I digress.
Chimenea had off-street parking under a canopy of trees and vines. The entrance to the place was very charming. My room, luckily, was only up one flight of stairs. It was super clean, large, with a double and a single bed, and a balcony. Price? $10 per person. However, here in EC, most hostals require you to pay based on the capacity of the room. For instance, the price was $10 per person and even though I was staying by myself, I had to pay $20 because the room was rated at 2-person capacity.
I was very tired and hungry so I headed out to Cafe Hood for a nice dinner of Thai chicken and THREE glasses of wine. When I sat down I told my waiter I wanted 2 glasses of wine right away...one to gulp down, one to nurse. I was a tired, but happy camper.
In the lobby of my hostal was a nice wood stove that kept the area toasty warm. There were a few computer workstations where guests could peruse the internet, check their email, etc. Through a door in the lobby was a small, covered swim pool, a jacuzzi, and another room with turkish steam 'boxes'. The swim pool was free, but the turkish steam boxes were $2, and the jacuzzi was empty because they will only fill it up if there's 4 people to reserve it and pay $4 each. Well, that left me out since I'm only '1'.
Two floors above my room level was an enclosed rooftop dining area where breakfast was served. You could also roam around the outside perimeter and take in the views.
Breakfast was usually $2-$3 and included juice, coffee, bread, 2 eggs, and fruit.
Late the next morning, I drove just outside the edge of town to the El Salad hot spring spa I had seen before, but never used. ES has several pools of different depths (shallower ones for kids) and temperatures. Bathing caps were required. I had my own, but most people were wearing big clear baggie-looking things handed out when they paid their $3 entrance fee. My first pool to dip into was a mineral bath with lots of old folks in it probably hoping to cure this or that. Posted signs listed the 'ingredients' derived from water analysis. Guards constantly monitored everyone because the water was pretty hot.
After awhile, a group of people arrived of which one was a woman older than dirt. She wore a thin swimdress that was probably once white, but now a dingy beige. She had blackened toenails (and not because they were painted) and missing some front teeth. She reminded me of Lucille Ball when she, as Lucy Ricardo, was in an operetta playing the role of 'Queen of the Gypsies' (Gyp-gyp-gyp-gyp-gyp-gypsies!!). This woman also had a wound on her leg that was bleeding. She had just showered, so it was a watery bleed. I thought...noooooo....she's not going to get in the pool. Nooooo....everyone else will see the same thing and prevent her. Nooooo.....they didn't.
I got out.
Later, I summoned a guard. I forgot the word for blood (sangre) so I pointed to my veins and said words like 'liquido' and 'rojo' and motioned as if cutting myself. After a bit of this charades she finally said the word 'sangre'. Then I explained the 'mujer vieja' (old woman) 'sin teeth' (without teeth...pointing to my teeth) 'tiene sangre en ella piernas y entrada la piscina' (she has blood on her legs and entered the pool). 'No es bueno, si?' (That's not good, yes?). The lady guard said 'ohhh....es no bueno!!!
After a few hours at El Salad, I returned to my room and took a nap. Afterwards, I headed for the Magic Hands place we visited last February. I wanted a one-hour massage $20 followed by a 30-minute detox treatment $10.
The detox treatment involved immersing my feet in an acrylic tub filled with water. An electronic coil is inserted in the water and the machine is turned on. 15 volts generate some sort of ionization therapy that draws toxins out of the body via the pores on the bottom of the feet. In the course of 30 minutes, the water proceeded to get darker and darker and more putrid. An information sheet was provided, translated to English, explaining the process and what the resulting colors and forms of slime meant. In some cases, indications point to the liver, or gallbladder, or joints, or even levels of metals in the body, even tobacco issues.
After being de-toxified (or at least partially) I went to dinner at the Stray Dog and chatted up the owner (from Chicago) and other patrons from Australia and Missouri who now live in Banos. I added more toxins to my body via beer.
Off to bed.
Enjoy the photos.
|Waterfall seen from the rooftop deck of my hostal.|
|Looking the other direction from the rooftop deck of my hostal.|
|I don't know the story behind this structure but it, obviously used to be a water slide of some sort. But, sits abandoned now. It's a very captivating piece of architecture for Banos. I hope it gets preserved.|
|The rooftop (of my hostal) dining area.|
|My breakfast (sideways) 2 pancakes, fruit, yogurt, and homemade sugarcane syrup. $2|
|El Salad. A waterfall turns into a stream alongside the spa, but was pretty low on water at this time of year.|
|El Salad is located in a tight gorge. This is looking downstream, away from the spa area.|
|An old car I spotted while driving around the town of Banos. There are a LOT of old restored cars in Ecuador that are long gone from the USA (ie; Datsuns, Ford Pintos, Ford Mavericks, etc)|
|Looking back across the gorge that Banos is built right up to the edge.|
|With my camera, pulling away from the previous photo now showing the entire river gorge and the town of Banos perched up to the edge.|
|There are greenhouses everywhere, even on steep slopes such as the one in the upper right.|
|Detox - at the end (30 mins)|
Gracie...just because I got a massage doesn't mean you're going to get one, too! Now get outa my blog!!
And now, a word from our Sponsor (me)