¡Buenas noches! Today was our first Fun Day, and our first opportunity to explore the touristic side of Ecuador. The day was exciting from beginning to end: after I woke up my fellow Glimpsers at 6:30 AM, we set out on our journey to Pailon del Diablo, a waterfall located in the Río Verde community in the city of Baños. The bus ride was an adventure in and of itself; we spent two hours weaving along bumpy, muddy roads past lush, green mountains and steep cliffs. However, the long ride was totally worth it! Our hike to Pailon del Diablo involved walking up slippery steps along the mountainside, and even crawling and climbing between layers of rock in order to get closer to the waterfall. Soon we were standing practically underneath it, and even our rain gear didn’t save us from the spray. We all got completely soaked, which just added to the fun! After our hike, we had lunch at the Kichua restaurant in Baños. ¡Estuvo muy rico! I always enjoy our meals because they give us a chance to talk to each other and become an even closer family. After lunch, we had a few minutes to explore the wonderful city of Baños. We all bought a few souvenirs to bring home 🙂 ! Overall, it was an amazing day.
Even though today’s activities were lighthearted and fun, they also provided some insight into how tourism affects a place. Compared to Riobamba, which is not viewed as a tourist attraction, Baños seemed to be a lot cleaner–with shops and buildings that looked newer, and wider, tidier streets. The area surrounding the city was dotted with tiny amusement parks, zip lines and other tourist attractions. It was beautiful and exciting to visit, but I felt as though it didn’t capture the true indigenous culture and spirit of Ecuador the way Riobamba does. With its slightly run-down buildings and bumpy cobblestone streets, Riobamba feels more intriguing and, in a way, more real.