Baños and baños

South from Otovalo through Quito and on to Baños. Watched a film on the bus about a Muslim man with aspergers, sort of a brown Forrest Gump. It would have been good if one of the key characters hadn't been killed by a football to the chest.

Baños is a fun place to be, hired a bike for $5 and cycled 60km to Puyo, which is less impressive than it sounds, it's all downhill. Made some one day friends, had a night of travel chat and attempted Salsa dancing.

After Baños I had to hurry up in order to get to Lima in time to meet my brother so carried on south to Cuenca for a night which was a nice enough city, then on to Loja where I went in to a hotel and checked out the crappiest room I've had this trip. It smelt bad, mouldly with a hint of public toilet but I'm not fussy so I left my bags in it and went down the three flights of stairs to pay $9. Back up in my room I discovered that the toilet not only had no seat but it was broken and didn't flush so back down I went with my bags to ask to change rooms. Describing the problem required a silly mime of the shape of a toilet and me doing a flushy flushy motion followed by waggling my finger and saying 'roto el baño'. I was told there were no other rooms, despite there being more than a dozen keys still hanging on numbered hooks behind her but someone would come up and fix it.

I left the hotel for the evening, had dinner and found a pool bar where I played alone, used their toilet and later returned to my room to find no improvement in the toilet situation. Quite a depressing evening, not real depressing like spending every day in a loveless relationship and a job you hate but certainly not fun... that is until, Forrest Gump, the actual one (I don't want to call it the white one, that sounds bad, although I don't think it is), came on the tele in English with Spanish subtitles. ¡Corre Forrest, Corre! Along with the tele the room did have redeeming features, a family of fifty or so flies in the shower were well behaved, quiet and kept themselves to themselves. There was also a plastic garden chair which no self respecting hotel room should be without, so I made sure I had a go on that to get my money's worth.

After a day in Loja it was night bus to Piura in Peru and that is where I am now.