I might be a masochist

I think I must have some masochistic tendencies, as I seem to enjoy making my life a lot more difficult than it probably needs to be. Ya, I just moved to a new country where I didn’t know anyone before I arrived, and ya I am still not fluent in the language, and ya I’m just getting started at a new job that is different than anything I have ever done before, and yes I have to go to the bathroom but I haven’t had time yet today, but you know what? Yes. Yes I would love to sign up to run a half marathon in the Andes, 3000m/ 10,000ft above sea level! And while I’m at it, sure I’ll write a children’s novel!

Why do I feel so dizzy? Hmmm, I feel like I’m forgetting something? What is it? Things are going blurry, come on, remember Shannon, what is it??!

Something simple….what is it?? OH YA!

Breathe.

Taken on a party Chiva in Banos, Sort of Sums up How My Life Feels Lately

Point is, this girl? She’s busy. You couldn’t see but I was pointing to myself. Actually I wasn’t, I was typing and picturing myself pointing to myself. I’m sorry I lied. Let’s not keep secrets from each other.

So, where did I leave off last time? Oh yes, stalkers and man friends….Moving right along (that’s not me keeping secrets, that’s just me, well, not telling you stuff).

Some people thrive off the excitement and energy of cities, but I am not one of them. While I do appreciate certain aspects of city life, I also find them to be chaotic and stressful, and I resent them for the energy they drain from me. I need to live in Quito for work, and I have made some pretty stellar friends here who help make this city livable, but it is also important for me to get away sometimes. Conveniently, Ecuador is a small and incredibly diverse country, and I am just getting started with my exploration.

Before I started my job, I went to a place a few hours away from Quito called Baños.

Baños Town Square

Unfortunately, I had been super sick since I got back from Same and so I didn’t actually experience any “baños” while I was there (the place is famous for its thermal baths). In retrospect, I’m not really sure where my head was at in my decision making process, because I somehow thought I was too sick to go to a thermal bath, yet it would be a great idea to zipline into a waterfall.

They asked if we wanted to go together, next thing we knew this was happening...

The Final Destination

We were on a Chiva ride to check out some of the waterfalls around Banos, but as it was pissing down with rain the whole time, and considering this (below) is what a Chiva looks like,

What it lacks in protection from the elements it makes up for in style.

we were already soaking wet. A casual dive into a waterfall just didn’t seem like that big of deal. Turns out all I needed was a little bit of adrenaline to get me pumped about travel again, so Joe and I decided not to return to Quito as planned, but rather to carry on for a few more days and check out nearby (relatively) Guaranda and Salinas.

We read that “half the fun of Guaranda is getting there,” but as we travelled at night and therefore missed the scenery, we had to hope we still had half our fun to look forward to on the return journey. We soon realized that Joe’s Rough Guide is actually a pretty f*cking rough guide as we found ourselves in a hostel with blood on the floor and no running water. Although we had half our fun still ahead, half of not very much fun is even less fun, so we decided to head off in the morning, and spent the night analyzing the children’s paintings on our table at a cafe  (you see, the worm, the snake, and the turtle were all going to a fancy dress party. Well, the star went too, but he was dressed as a turtle. I don’t know why they invited him anyways, everyone knows stars always have the worst costumes…)

The next morning we found a random white pickup truck (they function like taxis in between small towns) to take us to Salinas, where apparently nothing happens other than some cheese making. Cheese and nothing, count me in!

Sleepy Salinas

Joe and I decided to bypass the cheese factory tour (it looked suspiciously like an evil lair) and venture off on some aimless wandering instead. Aimless wandering is generally when the best stuff happens, and this was no exception.

We looked out at the countryside, and at each juncture, just kept thinking how we probably couldnt climb such and such rock, but we should try anyways.

Pretty, yes. But what does it look like on top?

Well, seek and ye shall find my friends. On top of this random rock, unmarked and seemingly untravelled, we found what appeared to be some sort of symbolic landscaping amongst the fog.

um, maybe, this bird is going to the fancy dress party too??

Mildly spooked and feeling like we just accidentally intruded on something sacred, we were walking in search of an alternative route back down when the fog finally cleared to give us our reward. The right place, right time, only on this kind of day when the sun is just right kind of view that you often only see in NatGeo pictures.

In amongst the fog

Happy with our discovery, we headed back to town to eat as much cheese and chocolate as we could justify (turns out they make chocolate too!) before heading off in the morning to have the other half of our fun on the return journey to Quito.

I started work the next week, and almost a month in to it my life has been nothing but full speed ahead, complete with all the South American drama you could expect. But for this post? That’ll do pig, that’ll do. :^)

29 thoughts on “I might be a masochist

  1. This is a good way to get a lot of exciting experiences in your life. Baños is a beautiful city in which you can find too much to do like bungee jump, canoying, rafting or simply walking around the center of Baños and buying some gifts. I think that you really had a good experience because that is what i read in your post but you forgot something. Going to Baños’s thermal baths. You should go in the next trip to Baños it’s a good idea, you would feel relaxed if you visit the thermal baths! I hope you had enjoyed visiting Baños.
    So, I don’t know too much about Salinas and Guaranda because I have never visited that cities. I know that is kind of crazy but someday I will go to visit. In the other hand, I think you might visit other cities here in Ecuador. It doesn’t matter when but in your free time or in vacations you may go to Mica lagoon. It’s a beautiful place in which you can see large lagoons, beautiful sceneries and also you can see the Antisana volcano. I’m sure that you will have fun if you visit there! 🙂

  2. This sounds like a great experience know a new place. Feel alone in an unknown location. But go ahead and discover new places. Explore and learn new habits.
    About Baños I don’t know much but I remember when I was a child I visited this place for me it was very nice and very relaxing. I know is that there can be practiced many extreme sports.
    About Guaranda I know many things because my parents were born there.
    Salinas – Bolivar I don’t know much but I listened that in this place make delicious cheese and the best chocolates I like a lot this products.
    This is my experience guaranda

    A Big Party in Guaranda
    The carnival of Guaranda is the best I know. It is celebrated in February or March. This party lasts four days. During the festival there are parades, music, dancing in the streets and plenty of food. This is my favorite holiday because sometimes my birthday is on that date. I also visit my family. My cousins play with water and carioca then we eat fritada and drink “chicha”and a famous liquor called “pajaro azul”. At night there are fireworks, people dance and enjoy the party. This festival is very colorful.In conclusion Guaranda carnival is the best in Ecuador and I like it because of its friendly people and very cultural parades.
    If you haven´t traveled to Guaranda in Carnival you should visit it because you will enjoy a lot…. 😉

  3. This sounds like a great experience know a new place. Feel alone in an unknown location. But go ahead and discover new places. Explore and learn new habits.
    About Baños I don’t know much but I remember when I was a child I visited this place for me it was very nice and very relaxing. I know is that there can be practiced many extreme sports.
    About Guaranda I know many things because my parents were born there.
    Salinas – Bolivar I don’t know much but I listened that in this place make delicious cheese and the best chocolates I like a lot this products.
    This is my experience guaranda

    A Big Party in Guaranda
    The carnival of Guaranda is the best I know. It is celebrated in February or March. This party lasts four days. During the festival there are parades, music, dancing in the streets and plenty of food. This is my favorite holiday because sometimes my birthday is on that date. I also visit my family. My cousins play with water and carioca then we eat fritada and drink “chicha”and a famous liquor called “pajaro azul”. At night there are fireworks, people dance and enjoy the party. This festival is very colorful.In conclusion Guaranda carnival is the best in Ecuador and I like it because of its friendly people and very cultural parades.
    If you haven´t traveled to Guaranda in Carnival you should visit it because you will enjoy a lot….

  4. Chiva is a kind of bus that is used to rural transport in Ecuador and Colombia. They are painted with blue, yellow and red because of colors in our flags. I think they are very uncomfortable. The modified buses don’t have seats but something like a wood bench. Maybe, it is good for the owners due to the fact that they can place more people in one raw. There aren’t windows just a “huge” hole where it should be a little door that is not. I said “huge” because you can feel rain and cold wind specially when you are exhausted, starving and very cold. Though, it is a tipical transportation so you have to use it and…If you are ecuadorian and refuse it, you are strange.

    I’m sorry you were sick at your first time in Baños. It is famous for thermal baths, so you have to tried them next time. Additionally, I’d like to say you have courage. If I had been so sick like you, I wouldn’t have gone to anywhere. I can imagine myself trying to explain my health problem without being fluent in the language. You are not masochist, just you are a profesinal vagabond

    By the way, the word “breathe”, that you used at the first part, made me remember a old song, perhaps you like it: Let me breathless, by the Corrs. It’s the opposite, ja!

    Bye,

  5. You have taken some beautiful pictures; through these photos I can see that the wonders of creation reveal God’s glory. Sometimes I ask for myself, how could have been created this landscapes and Nature, and only I find a response to my question, is Just God.
    It`s nice that you like to explore new places and feel the curiosity for discover the unknown. I hope you continue discovering and exploring new sceneries in spite of your inconvenients.
    Go ahead!!!! and enjoy what you really like to do!!!!

  6. Waooohh!!!..
    It`so exciting to read about your small trips…. I wouldn`t say you´re masochist… y just thing you are enjoying a few of the marvelous lanscapes Ecuador has. but there is some risky things I did not justified as masochism…. I wouldn´t travell anywere if I were sick as you when you travelled to Baños. I consider you are a woman with a really strong character. on the other hand it easy to see that the trip was really worthy.

    Ireally like to travel around mi country, and I know that extrem sports are as adictive that I´m always lloking for more fun and adrenaline…. I understand you and suggest that you should´t quit being as adventurous as you are…. I´m sure the next time is going to be better for you. so ¡¡¡make your package and take another trip!!! and obviously…. Don`t forget to tell us about your next extreme experiences.
    Enjoy Ecuador…there are a lot to discover. and I´m sure you will enjoy it.

  7. OMG, the way that you write is pretty good, well sometimes we make our life a drama and we are masochist, but that is a great part of be young and have free time..! hahahha Well, It’s difficult start over in a new country,make friends and have fun, but I see that you’re doing pretty good.! hahaha

    You’re finding our gorgeous place here in Ecuador, that part I think that I really like the most, because you make time to know where you are right now and explore everything around you.

    I really love Baños, I have been there a lot of times, because my high school have a big convent that we used to camping, spend time and sometimes pray.It’s a beautiful place and it have an amazing view, I used to climb the Virgin Mary’s stairs praying the rosary with my classmates.! hahahhaha Was pretty boring.! hahahha

    I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip.!

  8. Shannon, Baños is a great place in order to make extreme sports in the day, but Life style in the night is funny, for example, If you want to drink so much, there are BARRAS LIBRES, the cost is lowest (10-15 usd), about CHIVAS, sometimes are dangerous if you drink lots because many drunk people trip and felt. I suggest you travel to Papallacta. Papallacta´s thermal water are better than Baños´

    At the end, CHIVAS are common on december in Quito

  9. ,.., that`s great,,.,.
    If you need to relax you should visit other nice places around ecuador like baños.
    For example MINDO it`s a good option that you can enjoy, and PUYO in the amazon region.
    In those places you can enjoy strange animal that surprise you
    It`s a good idea to go to those places with your friends.It`s amazing to know that you are so adventurous woman.

    I think It`s ok to enjoy the life It can be wonderful,.,.;)

    Giovanni

  10. That`s great.
    If you need to visit new places like baños you should visit MINDO,MINDO is a nicfe place to see strange animals, but they can surprise you with their loveliness.
    If you decide to travel for exciting sports like climbing It`s a good idea to visit Cotopaxi because It`s a extreme place to do that.
    It`s amazing to know that you are adventurous woman.

    Enjoy your life as if It were a dream ..;)

    Giovanni (Ggflex)

  11. Hi Shannon.

    It is good to know that you are traveling around Ecuador. It is a small country but has plenty of things to do, plus a variety of climates in a very short distance.

    Baños is also known as Baños de Agua Santa, in honor to the Virgin Mary.
    I see that you like adventure sports, and if you go further south to Puyo city you will find rafting, canopy and some other outdoor sports. Local people believe that thermal baths are good for bones and stress, maybe you should try it next time.

    Guaranda is good to visit in Carnival. There is parades, dancers and lots of water, so make sure to take an extra shirt because everyone will end up soaked.

    I hope you have started your work successfully, after this trip to the provinces of Tungurahua and Bolívar.

    All the best
    Ximena Velasco.

  12. Baños is an amazing city that you can find everything easily. I know that it is small and for this reason is not necessary to drive a car, you could walk aronund the city and visit the place. the central church is very beatifull, people from Baños are very faithful to this virgin, is so special. You could take many time and travle to Puyo, i love it. It´s very similar to Baños but is bigger.

    you coould had found many crafts here. we have many things to sell like clothes or tradicional objetcs. I hope to go to Guaranda parties, someone told me thta is different to the typical parties. people dance and drink in the street. You can see festivals and how these artists dance.And the principal in a Chiva you will dirnk canelasos and puntas.

  13. Shannon you´re a great person. You are very brave to came to a country like Ecuador, but enjoy it because it´s aagreat experience for you.
    Ecuador is a beautiful country and we have beautifil places to visit and everything is cheap jijijij.
    I traveled 3 years ago to Spain and i love it, but when i returned to Ecuador Iunderstand how important is to take care of your country because i think that Ecuador is a little earth in the earth jejejejejej .
    You have to visit Galapagos Island is so beautiful, you will find a treasure there.

  14. I believe that the experience of travel in another country where you don’t know the language, the culture, etc; sounds dangerous but if you like travel, nothing is impossible. Baños is a good city of do tourism, especially for his termal baths, but las chivas isnt really good, the better chivas in Ecuador are in Quito. Especially in the fiestas de quito, all chivas drive around the city, and you can dance all night.

  15. Baños
    I think with so much traveling you are already an expert on travel this life and nothing shocks you but I think you did not have enough time to visit Baños, because you are sick so Baños is not only thermal baths.
    But I also visited other places in Ecuador and the way you always wanted to take life seems exciting adventure.
    I wish to travel as much as you travel without caring language and always risking and trying new things.
    Cruzkaya Hinojosa

  16. Hello,
    It is unfortunate that the first experiences in Quito were tragic although our local authorities are campaigning to promote respect to the foreigner living in our beautiful capital city.
    I share with you, a true friend is a hidden gem and I hope you find some more and they show you a lot of good things of my dear Quito-bonito.
    Our beaches are beautiful, when the end of this cycle I recommend that you travel to the province of Manabi and you will discover the best beaches in Ecuador.

  17. Baños its and an excelent destination in Ecuador for those who love nature, but it also could be like Vegas in Ecuador, because what happened in Baños stayed in Baños, jajaja. If you like to travel go to the north west of Quito, just an hour far from here there are many different private reserves such as Pahuma, where you can enjoy to see exotic orchids, another place to visit is Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve, where you will get amazed seeing hummingbirds so close to you.

  18. Yes, so is Ecuador.
    It is great that you Shannon can appreciate the diferint things that you can find in each place like Ecuador.
    Shannon in side of you there is an adventurer spirit that can become a dificult situations in a magnific experience and tell it.
    Well I hope you have enjoyed the new things like the chiva and tipicals parties whit Ecuadorian alcohol ( pajaro azul and puntas )..
    Ecuador has many turistics atractions,I wish you could visit as many places as you want.

  19. hi Shannon
    and I noticed that you like to travel a lot in countries that are very research with things your escojiste countries and Ecuador. Bathrooms are very nice when buacar enpiezas to things like paresen cascasdas or unique places in the world and that you have as a visit.
    I wish you every success and if you follow traveling and uploading photos to your website. I hope you do not forget the friends as cast in Ecuador.

  20. Actually I think you are very funny. I recommend you travel a lot and continue to know Ecuador is a very ineresante and one of few countries where you find so interesting place as BAÑOS and GUARANDA ….

    Baños is a very beautiful city and its genete very cordial and friendly.

    GUARANDA encuantras is a city where some nice landscapes.

    I hope that you know more our country

  21. Baños is a beautiful city that you can find a lot of fun things like bungee jump, canoying, rafting or simply walking around the center of Baños and buying some gifts. I hope that you had a good experience. The next time that you go to Baños, you should go to the thermal baths because you would feel relaxed. I think you can go to Mindo is another place that you will enjoy and do many activities. I wish you continue visit our country.

  22. Banos es the most exciting place in Ecuador for me. I think that is good idea to aventure because you will find incredible places. When a person is sick, isn’t good idea to go out, because you won’t enjoy really, first should be healthy for to do interesting things.

  23. Hi Shannon… you right when you said ” Aimless wandering is generally when the best stuff happens” . Many times when I “aimless wandered” around my country I found wonderfull places, weird and beautiful natural formations and a great diversity of animal species. One example of that was when I watched the fly of condors at Quilotoa lake after a great storm, truly I felt the nature this moment, it was unforgettable, you should try it. Definitely I think we are lucky for living in Ecuador.

  24. Hi, Shannon!! those pictures are so beautiful and if you taken them…..such an excellent photographer!
    In the other hand I admire your braveness and your thinking way because being in a foreign country and not knowing anything about it is to enterprise an adventure.
    Baños is such a great town, but it has not only chivas and waterfalls or what do you say about “melcochas”?. Definitely wandering travels are far more interesting than regular and planned travels. I see you hit the jackpot at the moment you decided to go through those well hidden places that only show themselves for special guests. All the pictures are amazing specially the one where the symbols are on the ground. It´s sad to say this for me as a proudly Ecuadorian girl but we don´t really know how many places like this are getting lost between the mountains and it seems like nobody cares about it. Sad but true.

  25. I think traveling to another country alone, where it is not your family or friends is a complete challenge! But I understand that is a wonderful life experience .Soon will be my turn, in a few months I’ll go to study at the University of Kansas for a year and I’m fearful of leaving my family especially my daughter and my husband, but I´ll do it for me for them . Anyway I congratulate you for being brave and now you are here in m y country sharing your knowledge with us. thank you for that we really appreciate it .
    Baños is a beautiful place . a lot of people go there for devotion of Virgen of Baños , others for fun , it is one of the best traditional places we have, it´s not a good idea traveling sick , but chivas make you feel better !!!!

  26. hi shannon! is horrible when you are sick and you were planning to travel with friends in a place that you can really enjoy. you should have swum because i have heard that this waters cure illness. in ecuador there are many beatiful landscapes that transmit a varity of feelings. in my opinion you are not masochist only for travelling while you were sick because it happens to many people.

  27. Jajaja, this trip sounds amazing; however i couldnt see pictures of you doing canopy with your head down..jajaja You should try that position next time you do canopy..jajaja
    I have never asked you about: How do you feel now with your new job?.
    Referring about getting sick, i guess you have more ecuadorian bacterias that help you to live here (since you drink water outside of class (wink!!)).
    Baños is the best place to see amazing waterfalls, take naps, and see big biodiversity of birds.

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