Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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Under Banos runs the Rio Pastaza, over which hangs a tiny swinging bridge. A short trek with local pack-mules over this bridge leads up a path with a beautiful view of the river and city. The grassy knoll in the foreground is a terribly comfortable spot to sit with a notebook and write away the afternoon, meeting and talking with travelers along the trail. Note the waterfalls emerging from the city plateau -- just a few of the countless cascades to be found in the valley.

After arriving the in after an all-night bus ride from Lago Agrio, one of the first sights I see in the distance is this waterfall. I wander about the narrow streets in the morning light and eventually arrive at its base, just on the edge of town. As only could be found in Banos, the waterfall pours directly into a public washing area, pictured elsewhere. Likewise, the pipes seen on the left tap the fall's water for a nearby bath house, De La Virgen (also pictured elsewhere).
Water from a nearby waterfall, directly behind the camera, is routed to public washing facilities in a clever arrangement of microcanals. I'm completely fascinated with the hydraulics of this sytem, as it ensures constant water in the face of changing input. For example, note how the water first flows into a holding area (in the foreground), which drains all excess water off to the left using a sort of miniature dam. Ingenious. A close examination of the actual washing bins is equally fascinating.

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