We went to Ecuador to meet up with Dave's parents who were finishing up another long time trip. Ecuador has 3 pretty distinct area: The Coastal Area that we did not visit, The Mountainous area characterized by lots of volcanos where we spent most of our time and the rainforrest area which contains forrest and tributaries to the Amazon river.

We arrived in Quito stayed the night and then proceeded immediately to Banos. It turns out our timeshare swap netted us a little house in a pretty exlusive place called Luna Runtun. But our house was not part of the main resort 15 minutes up a pretty steep, muddy, unlit path. Turned out to be fantastic though.  Can imagine what would have happened if we arrived in wheelchairs or on crutches though.

Looking down on Banos

Our resort was right by a volcano, which we heard every night. But we never saw it due to cloudy conditions the whole time we were there.

The closest we ever came to seeing the volcano. Note the lantern Dave's Dad is carrying. We used it to get back to our room if it was after dark.

In 1999 Banos was evacuated due to volcanic activity. Truth be known, the danger of volcanic erruption was probably one of the reasons we got our house in the exclusive resort so easily and cheaply. Here is the official route to take in the event of an erruption.

For the Spanish scholars amongst you who have worked out that Banos is the Spanish for bathroom, it is named after the natural hot volcanic baths there.

A delicious roast pig in the Banos market. The market was fantastic, with all kinds of bizarre fruits and vegetables and lots of variations ont he ones we already know.

Roast Guinea Pig is a delicacy in Ecuador! We all wanted to try it. We saw it on our first day in Banos and decided to put it off to another day (a day we hadn't just stuff down a pile of the pork from the previous picture). We never saw guinea pig again.

Buying some incredibly cheap locally crafted goods. US$ 8 for a really nice wool jumper.

Ridig on a scenic railway. Its still a working train freight service, though it seems to be mostly dominated by tourist cargo, most of whom sit on the roof.

Heading down out of the mountains towards the Amazon forrest. This river will flow into the Amazon many miles away

Here we are in the forest. We went to a variety of forest locations. It is very exotic. But we couldn't help feel that man has very much encroached on the forest.

The best part of the forrest we went to was by canoe. It was real old growth forest with lots of interesting fauna. We didn't see so many animals though. They were there, but keep away from people. How we failed to tip out of the canoe I don't know. I was very sure we were going to. It was _very_ unstable.

The reason its called rainforest.

On the way back to Quito at the end of the trip a river had somehow opened up across our road and our bus got bogged in the middle of it. David spent an hour in water up to his thighs helping to get the
bus out. Cassandra would not permit photos of that event :-(

A monkey plays with Cassandra. Monkeys ruled that town, aggressively dominating even the largest dog we saw.

After the Amazon we went straight back to Quito. It was a great holiday. Though most of the tourists we met were there for 6 months not 1 week. That was a bit depressing.

It was our first trip to South America. Dave's parents, who have been there for about 6 months in the last 2 years declare it to be the "the place" to visit. And we can see that from this short visit.