Weekend in Ban~os
Bungee jumping. Amazing. Hot springs were not what we expected, but an open mind is a happy mind.
The weekend in Banos (pronounced Banyos in Spanish) started off with at 3 in the morning with a 5 hour car ride. Having went to bed at 11pm, I was not so chipper at 2:55 when Juancho knocked on my door and told me that we were leaving. Groggy car rides aside, I arrived at Banos feeling more or less refreshed.
After a delightful breakfast of soft “pan integral” (wheat bread) and cheese from Holland, the volunteers, Juan and Anita decided that it was time for a dip in the real ban~os (the hot springs). When we got there, however, we were surprised to find out that the ban~os didn’t exactly match our expectations.
So when I thought of Hot Springs, I imagined going on a beautiful hike and stopping to take a dip in a bubbling gust of water that was spurting from in between a crack in the ground. What we found, however was 4 pools that were simply next to the waterfall, wherein the water was diverted from said spring. The only turnoff was that people were crammed into the pools like sardines in an aluminum can. I lied. Another turnoff was that the hot pool was made of cement the color of rust, and so the warm water inside had a distinctive yellow color.
In all seriousness though, the hot springs were an experience I would not want to forget. Jumping from the freezing pool to the boiling pool was one of the most exhilarating, body-shocking activities I’ve done in a while. And what’s more, learning to make the best of experiences that don’t meet your expectations definitely builds character.
Bungee Jumping Day 2
Day 2 started off with a tour of “Las Cascadas,” or the waterfalls around Banos. Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe the sights.
More memorable however, was the insane adrenaline rush of falling off a cliff. This was the experience created by bungeeing backwards into the open sky. Of course no one had to go backwards. In fact, I was the only one who chose to do so out of the volunteers that jumped. After we were all harnessed up, the bungee jumpers climbed onto a tiny platform that extended out over a bridge. As we climbed up there, we could see the soaring ocean rapids, seemingly hundreds of thousands of feet below us, as well as the distant mountain peaks, which were miraculously at eye level. I, however, would not let myself look at the sights for long while up on the platform. I simply turned around, faced the man who counted down my departure, and impelled myself to inch my heels off of that platform.
Before I knew it, I had lost balance and felt like I was on a trust fall where no one was going to catch me. The sheer terror on my face has been captured in several unflattering pictures (coming soon), and I know that my scream was the kind of horror that was uncontrollably hell raising.