Over breakfast this morning, it started. What sounded like harmless low rumblings of thunder turned out to be eruptions of the nearby volcano Tungurahua.
The intensity increased, and the windows of our apartment were constantly rattling, but we could see nothing. Our vision of the volcano is obscured by a hill between us, and we were even unable to see the resulting ash plume because of thick clouds.
So, armed with our cameras, we went for a closer look! Turistas estupidas, right? I am sure that is what many of the locals thought as we made our way out of town to a lookout point. We stopped where we should have been able to see the crater, but unfortunately had no better view due to the clouds. Instead, we only had to be satisfied with actually being able to feel Mama's wrath - our proximity to the volcano meant much louder booms and a resulting increased heart rate!
Throughout town, people seemed to be a little on edge, and many shops were boarded up. Once we got back we were warned that the town was now on high alert, and also told that two towns nearby had been evacuated. We were issued masks (for the ash) and told to pack our bags in case we had to leave. Fortunately, La BIB does have an evacuation plan in place, and so if we hear the town's sirens wailing, we have a secured ride out of town and place to go.
Into the afternoon and this evening, She seems to have calmed down. Eruptions are less frequent, although we still hear some pretty big booms. People in town are going about their business as usual, and some locals we talked to are even planning to get as close as possible tonight to hopefully see some action - if they are not terribly worried about it, then we won't be either.
This is not new for Mama, She likes to cause some disturbances every few months, yet She hasn't caused any deaths or damage to our town of Baños for three generations. What is a little different this time around is that the eruptions started in the morning (they are usually only at night), and the constant intensity of them. A little scary, but we will both freely admit, we also think it is pretty cool to be experiencing this.
Quite an exciting day in our little pueblo! We will keep this up to date if anything changes. And hopefully with some pictures next time!
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