September 15, 2010
We knew that a walk from downtown Giron to the falls was feasible so I asked a policeman which road would get us there. He dismissed the idea by stating that it was far too long for me to walk and that I had to take a taxi. Now, I would not normally take offense at someone's assumption of what I was capable of doing (what would be the point in taking offense when I can just ignore them?) but this admonishment was prefaced by addressing me as "Mamacita". I've been called "madre" in Ecuador, usually by other women, and I had quickly realized that this is a term by which any woman of child bearing age (and over) may be addressed. It's actually somewhat of an honorific, given that being a mother is the most natural condition for a woman in Ecuador and that mothers, in general, are held in high regard. "Mamacita", on the other hand, is what usually accompanies the "psssst" sound a rude man makes as a woman walks by. I was not amused. On the other hand, I do understand that most people drive to the Falls.
In any case, I ignored him and asked a couple of indigenous men who, probably having walked that way a few times, were happy to assist us and told us it would take around 1.5 hours. We went on our merry way. Without giving the policeman the right, it was in fact a fairly challenging hike as it was uphill all the way. It did take about an hour and a half to reach the turnoff to the falls but then another 40 minutes or so on a steep incline to reach the entrance to the park ($2 entrance fee for foreigners, $1 for nationals) and a little bit more time to actually get to the falls. It was a very sunny day and I neglected to wear a hat so I suggest that if you would like to walk there to take plenty of water and wear a sun hat. Having said that, the hike and being at the falls were one of the most enjoyable times I've spent in Ecuador. A beautiful and interesting walk all the way (I'll write about the walk back to Giron tomorrow) and once there, it's always so great to see people (mostly families) enjoying themselves.
The falls are surrounded by a park where people (and I'd say the vast majority were Ecuadorian) can spend a pleasant day frolicking under the falls,
playing with their children,
or taking a very short ride on this little horse, among other things.
The falls did not disappoint--just beautiful, with lots of photo opportunities. I look forward to doing this again when the weather is warmer and when I imagine it would be even more enjoyable to splash around and get wet--that water was COLD!
Posted by Lourdes at 2:19 PM