La piscinas de la Virgen (hot water spring)

Thermal baths or hot water springs are numerous in Banos, which literally meane baths in Espanol. Visiting Banos and not going to one of these is injustice, so I decided to head out today to discover what the craze is about. It is said that the water is heated from the volcano Tungurahua and has healing properties with natural minerals. Going there, I had to pay 2 dollars to enter, and then noticed how crowded the pools were. The hottest temp did not feel too hot, but warm enough! For me, it was comparable to a heated pool, but I did enjoy chatting with some Ecuadorians on vacation in the pool. I finally had to get out, as it was just too crowded being the most popular picsina de virgen (story goes someone saw virgen Mary there so it is a holy place). There are other ones in town which I may look for later this week. Overall, OK experience, but nice nonetheless for relaxation. The waterfall on top was nice! As I sip my heavenly hot chocolate at my new favorite cafe in town, I notice how the family of 5 at the table in front of me are all on their smartphones. Is this what a family vaction is? Phones are distracting sometimes. Family vacations are to be about bonding and enjoying a new place, not being glued to phones. Even kids are given phones to play with. My biggest pet peev is during office visits with me, when parents give toddlers phone to keep them entertained. What happened to toys or picture books? I need to find the bus to go to casa del arbol, and book an Amazon tour. Sometimes, being lazy and napping is just what is needed after a long day of wandering around. I did not realize how tired I was until I napped, and did not wake up for 3 hours. I keep thinking about work to do, but need to not do it. I have 4 weeks left of traveling, and I need to destress after the rollar coaster the last 2 years were. Sometimes, you do not realize how burnt out you are until you stop and look back. In last 2 years, I went from being myself to this overworked person who developed wrinkles, white hair, and gained 20 pounds in her 20s. Chronic stress is horrible, but I broke the cycle and left for my own good. I had patients using foul language at me 1 year ago, to now, I am met with such kindness by local Ecuadorians. My life changed so much with one decision, to leave what was causing me harm, and find a new path. I miss my old job sometimes, like my colleauges who became friends, and my routine patients who dearly made me part of their family and would bring three generations to see me. They were sad when I said I was leaving, and wanted to move to have me as their provider. I was met with bittersweet hugs of goodbye with people I cared for and who inspired me to continue trying to be the best NP I can be, just to see smiles on their faces and watch their health impove. I need this break so I can go back to what I am meant to do. Travel refuels me and reignites the passion for life. It is not a luxury vacation, long bus rides, crowded hostels, weightlifting backpacks walking miles in new places, but it is my gift to myself. The world is my textbook. I met a young woman in my hostel who reminded me of my younger self. She is traveling for months, but mostly volunteering at different places in Latin America. I did that in Honduras and India back when I was her age. We bonded, and ended up having dinner at this family owned Italian restaurante. It is strange how quickly friends, even if temporary, are made when traveling. Especially when solo traveling, people are more open to talk and hang out unlike people in groups traveling.

I love this cafe and their chocolate caliente! I am a frequent flyer there now! Also, booked an amazon 1 dat tour. The 3 to 4 day one was too expensive and out of my budget although someday I will do an extended trip in the jungle for sure! The old gentleman at the travel agency was so sweet. He taught me about la historia de Ecuador and indigenous communities for like half hour! We talked about native Americans and the disparities they face in US and also about India. I love conversing with locals in Spanish. I had to book the tour after that! I was too imoressed by his kind demeanor and passion for his culture and sharing it with travelers like me. Connecting with locals around the world is priceless. So psyched to go to Amazonas en la manana!

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