While Paul went off mountain biking, Asal, Ty and I decided against a 5 hour hike taking a taxi instead up to a spot on the hill behind Banos called Casa del Arbol which has a grown up's sized tree house and a swing out over the edge of the hill with some amazing views over the valleys. The man who owns the house is actually the person who monitors the active Tungurahua volcanoe which towers over the town. The volcanoe erupts on average every 3 weeks, and while any lava which flows usually does it down the side away from the town he has a fairly important job. Chatting with our taxi driver while playing on the swing he told us that incredulously the Ecuadoran government currently doesn't pay the man so he survives off whatever tips tourists bring him to play on his swing.
Arriving back in town we headed for a bit of pampering - Banos is also known for its cheap massages and after using shoulder, back and ab muscles all day it was heaven to have someone work out all the knots and tension before we headed to the thermal hot pools to soak away the night. We slept SO good that night but waking up my cold had fully arrived so we decided to stay an extra day to try and recover. I spent most of it in bed curled up watching yet more CSI and Bones, eating choconannas (really good for my sore throat haha) before a trip to try out the hot pools at the other end of town. We were a bit disappointed by the second pools. They were more expensive to get into, the water temperatures weren't as nice at the first one, and they don't rent towels (something we didn't find out until after we had gone in) trying to charge about $10 usd for one! I wouldn't even spend that much on a towel in NZ so we just used our tshirts to dry ourselves off.
Next stop: Montanita