Grant McWilliams

Riobamba day 2

My plan for the second day in Riobamba was for us to catch a bus to Banos andimg_6776 go swimming in the hot pools but we walked to the Terminale Norte and found out we had to be at the Terminale Oriente as that's the only place you can catch a bus to Banos. We took a taxi for a buck and arrived at what appeared to be a large parking lot/market with no actual terminal. My guidebook said that the south route to Banos was closed and so we needed to go to Ambato then Banos which takes three times longer. Since we were day tripping this wouldn't work for us so we really needed someone to tell us how long it would take to get to Banos and have a formal ticket with times on it. It didn't look like that was going to happen and we were feeling a bit lazy so we decided to just hang out in Riobamba and go to the hot pools when we get to Cuenca. This meant we had the rest of the day to get acquainted with the locals and see what Riobamba was all about. The best place to do this is in the city parks so we headed to Parque Mandanido named after Pedro Mandinido who was on the team to mark the equator. We sat for quite some time and watched the locals stare at us and even had one stop and try to talk to us. We then found a Pastaleria and bought some strange milk soaked cake before moving to another park which was just as nice. In a small way we felt like we belonged for the first time since we arrived in South America. There's something nice about just hanging out in a park and watching the world go by. Until your stomach starts complaining about your complacency and urges you to move.

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Earlier when we walked to the Bus terminal we saw a wood fired pizza joint and that sounded good so we headed for it. None of the stores or restaurants outside of the bakeries were open in the morning img_6792but apparently everyone's hangovers were wearing off and one by one they started opening. As we walked north we found an open internet cafe so we stopped and said hi to everyone at home and updated blog entries. About 6 more blocks and we arrived at the pizza place and it smelled and tasted good. I chose a pizza that had something on it that I didn't recognize the name to and it turned out to be corn (no it didn't say maize)! It was real good and didn't upset our stomach. Earlier we also saw a bakery that had meringues and Jade was in the mood for them so we set out to find it. On the way Chimborazo became visible. Chimborazo is the tallest mountian in the world when measuring from the center of the earth. From sea level it's about 20,000 ft which still makes it pretty darn tall. It was snow capped and beautiful. Problem was I was taking pictures and there was telephone lines, trees and buildings in the way so I looked around for some high point and found a 5 story hotel. Crossing our fingers for luck we walked there and asked if we could go to the top of the hotel and look out and they not only said yes but had someone let us into the banquet room on the top floor to view it from. I got great pictures and Mo tipped the man for letting us in. We still hadn't found the meringues so we ventured on and ran across them. You buy stuff here like you do in Mexico where you go to the ticket counter and pay for what you want then go pick it up. This is a bit of a problem if you can't speak the language so I went up to the cashier and said “meringues, blanco” and then started pointing. They accomodated us and allowed us to choose and pay at the cashier. Armed with mirangues we headed back to our hotel. The plan was to get up at about 5:30, buy our train tickets at 6 and be on the train to Alausi at 7 so we went to bed early.