It's taken a while but I have discovered an alarming pattern about all the places I am visiting in Ecuador. Every single one of them has been the scene of some god awful natural disaster (the type you usually find in a column on page 8 of the Newspaper with 300,000 dead). First it was Quito, which 5 years ago was completely covered in volcanic ash when the erupting pinchincha decided to turn day into night for the 2 million residents of the capital city. Then we went to Latacunga. This town has the pleasure of being nestled next to Mt Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world. In the last 300 years it has erupted 3 times completely destroying the town of 50,000. Scientists believe it erupts every 108 years and it's now been 120 since the last one. To make matters worse, the temperature of the ground has increased from 4 degrees in 2001 to 41 degrees in 2005. It is predicted the upcoming eruption will send lava waves 30 metres high travelling at 60 kilometres an hour.
After Latacungo we travelled to Ambato. This town was completely destroyed in a 1949 Earthquake. Lucky we were only there to change buses. But our final destination and where I am sitting rather stupidly right now is Banos. Someone decided to found a town here right next to Tunguruhua, an active volcano that has been continously erupting since 1999. At that time the town was evacuated and soldiers placed to stop people returning. Unfortunately rumours circulated that soldiers were looting and a riot ensued. Slowly residents and tourists have been returning, needless to say the most popular thing to do here is eruption viewing. Lets just hope the eruptions continue to be minor. At the moment the town is only on Yellow alert but we are told to memorise the street map for a hasty evacuation. There was a major tremour here 2 weeks ago. mmmmmm At least I can take comfort with the fact that I'll be taking about 2000 other stupid tourists with me.