Baños, Ecuador, June 23, 2003 — Another rainy day stymied my attempts at photography on our last morning in Banos. I probably could have gotten some nice shots if I was willing to brave the elements, since there was a great fog hanging over the city. But I wasn’t equipped to protect my camera gear, so I took a few shots from the door of the restaurant where we grabbed breakfast before jumping on the bus back to Quito. At least breakfast was easy to order (in practically any language).
Baños, Ecuador, June 22, 2003 — Once again, I look back at the pictures from Day 15 and am disappointed. The good news is I know that my skills improved vastly over the year of travel, so if you stick with me the pictures will get better — I swear! The other thing which I remember as I think back to 10 years ago is that I was nervous having my camera equipment out in plain view. I got over that nervousness to a large extent over the year, but back then a digital SLR was almost unheard of. When my camera was out, locals and fellow travelers alike would constantly ask me questions and stare at my outlandish digital camera and giant L-series lenses (when I told them it was a 6 megapixel camera, people’s jaws would drop with envy and surprise). So my camera often stayed in my bag until I was ready to shoot, and then it would quickly return to the secrecy of my backpack.
Anyhow, we spent Day 15 of our trip riding rented bikes in the Andean hills outside of Baños with our Dutch friends Barry and Renee from our Spanish school. Although we haven’t seen Barry and Renee in many years, they remain friends — one of the wonderful side effects of traveling. It was a beautiful ride past cascading water falls, little villages, and farms, but I didn’t capture most of that since it’s tough to photograph and ride at the same time, so you’ll have to trust me. We ended with a little hike and then hitched a ride in a pickup truck back to town.
As a side note, the night before ended with a valiant but unsuccessful attempt at nighttime photography of an active volcano. During the year, we had many failed attempts at seeing/climbing/photographing/skiing/etc. volcanoes, and this was the first. After taking a 20-minute bus ride outside of town in the middle of the night, we spent about two hours staring into the blackness of what we were told was the cloud-covered volcano Tungurahura. We just think we were taken (literally and figuratively) for a ride.
Baños, Ecuador, June 21, 2003 — Wed did a lot of hiking during our round the world adventure, but rarely did I do it with specific photographic goals. As a result, we often hiked when the light was not at its best. Such was the case on Day 14, when we hiked above Baños. I like the portraits I got that day of my beautiful, young bride (we had just been married 5 weeks then). The landscapes….well they were more descriptive than beautiful.
Quito to Baños, Ecuador, June 20, 2003 –There were no pictures on day 12 of our round the world trip (and thus the missing day from this blog). And day 13 only had two shots from which to pick to be the “picture of the day” (and both were of the same subject). Nevertheless, I like this one.
We spent much of the day in transit from Quito for a weekend escape in the town of Baños, Ecuador. On the way, I snapped two shots of our bus driver, who was sitting — while driving, mind you — in a lawn chair. In the bus company’s defense, it had been bolted to the floor, so I’m sure it was quite safe. By contrast, the giant crack through the windshield seemed quite normal.