Monday, June 11, 2012

Relaxation, Cuy and Caña!

Since our return from the Jungle, we've decided to rest up here in Baños.  In addition to the many adventurous activities here, there are also spas galore!  I decided to try a Hot Volcanic Stone massage, seeing as we lie in the shadow of an active volcano.  I have to say, it was a little different.  The masseuse did all the same things you might do in a traditional massage, but she had hot rocks in her hands and rubbed my body with them.  While the warmth was soothing, the rocks don't have the same dexterity has fingers do for getting into those sore muscles.  The highlight of the treatment for me was the face massage that included a chocolate mask.  It smelled scrumptous!  (Matt is not a big fan of massages and chose to relax with a cup of coffee in a cafe, instead.)  Today, we headed back to the Piscinas de la Virgen and the hot pool was especially hot today, so we stayed mostly in the warm pool, near the hot side.  Being a Monday, it was a lot less crowded, which was nice.  

Of course, we've been eating to regain our strength, too.  Yesterday, we had a specialty of the region for lunch - Cuy, also known as Guinea Pig, grilled, with potatoes, rice, and salad.  I have to say, the taste of the cuy was something truly unique.  We split a half-cuy, and we got the lower half which included Belly, some organs (heart, I think), back and legs.  This particular restaurant used a sort of peppery-glaze which was yummy and the meat is tasty, too.  The taste of the meat is really unique, not like chicken or beef or anything else I can describe, but the texture reminded me somewhat of duck: crispy skin and dark, fatty meat.  Matt says the belly reminded him somewhat of chicharron, which is pig belly, but I wouldn't know.  I'm really glad we tried this dish we've heard so much about and would surely eat it again if the right opportunity presented itself.

We had a late breakfast after the piscinas this morning, at Yolanda's Puesto #19 in the mercado, so we just decided to get a little snack of sugar cane this afternoon.  Since sugar cane is actually a grass, we can't eat it because humans are not ruminants, like cows, and cannot digest grass.  Instead, you suck and chew on the cut bits getting the juice (guarapo) out and throw away the stalk.  Yum!  

We have really enjoyed Baños and now  plan on heading to the coast tonorrow.  The internet is a little slow here, so we've been delayed in uploading photos, but we're working on it.  As always, we will keep you posted! 

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