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…Have you heard of it? Neither had I, until I came to Baños. I thought it was a sport reserved solely for volcanists. Anyone else, I figured, would want a lava-spewing crater out of sight and thus, out of mind. Oh, how wrong I was.

Partybus to the volcano

That´s a chiva, or as I like to call it, the party bus. Anytime one passes La Bib, we can hear it blasting reggaeton or salsa, and I break into a little dance.

Karl, Rob, and I were talking yesterday about the distinction that people make between being a tourist and being a traveler. ¨I´m not a tourist!¨ is a frequent phrase among backpackers. Karl suggested that we eradicate the word tourist altogether, and call everyone travelers- but denote their intensity with varying levels, like in whitewater rafting. ¨I´m a level four traveler,¨ you might say. Certain things can bump you back a level.

So when I rode the chiva to the top of the mountain to see the volcano, I knew it would set me back at least a level or two in my traveler rating. Riding through the mist, on top of the bus, we had to duck to avoid tree branches and powerlines. The colored lights lit the mist blue and green, making the ride feel, to this Floridian, just like an attraction at Disneyworld.

When we arrived at the top, the mist was thick but the canelazado- a delicious sugarcane drink- was hot. It comforted me to know that lava spewing from Tunguruhua is such a frequent occurrence that a cafe exists solely to serve those who come to watch it. We stared into the blackness, hoping the clouds would break and leave us with a perfect view of glittering lava.

And then, through the mist- what´s that light? Could it be Mama Tungurahua, finally showing her face? We all grabbed our cameras and started clicking away.

Is that the volcano????

Then I turned on the flash.

No... Just some Brit´s cigarette.

…And it was just British guy, holding up his cigarette, trying his best to give us the fake pictures of Tungurahua that could dazzle our friends, possibly bumping us up to level four travelers.

You´re lucky I´m an honest gal. Can I get some points for that?


Written by Sam Kelly

June 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I love it! This is fantastic. I´m not exactly sure how the system works, but if I´m allowed to, I give you at least three points for making me laugh. As to your previous post, I´m glad I´m not the only one who´s getting to rock out to obscure American music selections abroad! 🙂 Take care!

    Claire Sipple

    June 5, 2010 at 9:13 pm

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