|First night in tents and we camped 14Km out of Banos, as the volcano is on amber alert (means a 90 percent chance of a major eruption within the next weeks / months: has been on amber alert since October 1999 though!)). Banos gets it's name because of the thermal baths resulting from the volcano.
Second night here, while playing a game of dice, the earth began to shake!! Turns out its the tremor from a quake in Northern Peru, which was scaled at 7.2. Weird to feel it, but all was just fine.
First night when Diana, our "Tour Guide" introduced the trip she emphasized that it is not a holiday we are embarking on, but an adventure tour...and so it all unfolds.
Set off from Banos for a full day travels with the intention of going approx 14 hours to the town of Cuenca for the night and then on for a couple of days of pampering at a beauty/spa place in Vilcabamba before departing Ecuador. But...
Came across a traffic jam, then saw a big flame. Turns out it's some form of roadblock protesting about something to do with fuel. Waited for the Army to arrive and put the fire out before turning the next corner to find another...then another...then an extra long wait of about 1.5 hours before we got through the next blockage only to go around the corner and find about 500 poncho-clad, dwarf-sized Ecuadorians standing blocking the road. On seeing our big yellow truck they made a run towards us armed with boulders and started throwing them in our direction. Tony (driver) did the quickest 3-point turn possible when the truck is as long as the road is wide and boulders are being stuffed under the wheels and we raced the other lorries to get away...no damage done but having spent about 5 hours covering that last mile, it took about 3 minutes to go back to the beginning....
So we didn't go to Cuenca, which meant we couldn't get to Vilabamba, which meant none of us got beautiful!!
Instead we headed straight to the border to head to the beach in Peru.