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  • Writer's pictureSanni & Gerri@

Baños Part 1: With cheese ice cream against the cartel

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

This blog almost needs its own homepage. So the reading time will be a little longer than usual.

Baños de Agua Santa briefly called Baños means in German: "baths of sacred water". The city with just 18,000 inhabitants promises pure adrenaline through this water. Here, the adventure heart beats faster during rafting, canyoning and ziplining. The place is particularly known for its roaring waterfall, the "Pailon the Diabolo". The canyon of the devil, in the middle of which, as they say, there is a stone in the shape of a devil's head. And after an action-packed day, you can go to the thermal bath, which is fed from the numerous sulfur-containing hot springs.


However, we plan not to take on so much action, but rather take it easy. A mountain bike tour to the Waterfall, ziplining, chilling a little in the hot springs, enjoying delicious street food in the Mercado and above all, eating the famous ice cream with cheese! We didn't think that this wish would trigger our most violent adrenaline rush ever.

 


After a nice breakfast on the spectacular balcony of our hostel, it's time for height training for Sanni, on the suspension bridge right outside the Hostal door!




After that, we make our way to find a good coffee again. After finding it in the café opposite the city park, we stroll comfortably towards the ice cream parlor, which is just a few meters away. We are still talking about how beautiful and tranquil it is - and you feel so safe here. Great.

We are the only guests to order our Helado con Queso and place ourselves on the two plastic chairs outside, in front of the ice cream parlor, with a beautiful view of the park. Our backpack lands between Gerriet's feet on the floor.

You do it automatically... but not in Ecuador.

And of course we pull out the IPhone to take some nice selfies of ourselves and the cheese experiment.

And as we two individual figures eat our ice cream, something disgusting green, not good-smelling suddenly splashes on our heads, faces and shoulders. Oh, can‘t be... these filthy birds... We both get up reflexively and look around confused for the source of evil. The cheese ice cream is still brave in your hand. How practical that a nice, elder gentleman happens to come by now and spontaneously offers us some napkins. Nice, these people here and so attentive. Fortunately, when we turn back to our chairs, we immediately notice that something is wrong. Our backpack is gone and is exchanged for a dummy the moment we go to the napkin.

Great, we really fall for a gang of trick thieves in front of the cheese ice cream parlor.

Sanni: Panic! Gerriet: Runs right away. He sees a car with running engine at the corner in this short second and sprints directly towards it. The cheese ice cream still in his hand. He sees the rear door closing and the car starting to take off. First slowly, then they push the pedal through the floor. No chance, they are too fast. Full of anger and despair, he throws his ice cream at the rear window of the car. A good decision as it will turn out later.

There they are now the two "dull tourists". Fortunately, this time a really nice person sees Gerriet running off and throwing his ice on a racing car. He immediately realizes that something is wrong and comes to us. His wild Spanish chattering grandma in tow. We explain in "Spanglisch" with hands and feet what happened. Our helper immediately calls the police, explains what's going on and where exactly we are. We wouldn't have done that so quickly alone without speaking Spanish. English is rather the exception here. Even with authorities such as the police.


Quick-witted, he also immediately registers that there is surveillance camera in front of the ice cream parlor and receives the video on his mobile phone in no time. And so you can now watch wonderfully how Sanni and Gerriet become victims of trick theft, thanks to a real beginner's mistake. Live and in color.


The police are with us quickly. It takes approx. 3 minutes to explain the story and the policeman can see exactly what happened on the video. Suddenly, we are pushed into the police car with no further explanation for us, Christian, the police—caller and translator right next to us. Grandma wasn't allowed to come along!


Fortunately, Gerriet can exactly describe the escaped car, in which direction it drove, and that we have a GPS tracker in our backpack. However, he only sends his signal via Apple devices around, which is not a help at first, as of course, not so many people have an IPhone here.

Wild messages are being exchanged though the police radio as we rush through the streets. We know: we will never see the backpack again, including our two cameras, credit cards and clothes. Christian, on the other hand, calms us down again and again in the best "Spanglish" and says that nothing has yet been lost.

And then the incredible!

A roadblock has already been set up by the police at the end of the main road out of town and when we arrive, the police actually pulled over the grey Ford Explorer. Clearly recognizable by Gerriet's "cheese-ice marking" on the rear window. Two thieves (although the requirement of innocence still applies at this moment) have already been pulled out of the car and stood at the side of the road discussing. It's a huge turmoil of police officers, cars and motorcycles with blue light and gawkers.


And in the middle of it: The Kruegers!

Now the IPhone recognizes the signal of the GPS tracker. This means that the backpack must be very close. Gerriet goes to the car with his now wildly beeping GPS signal. Sanni is just standing at the sidewalk and barely believing it. The moment the back door opens and Gerriet identifies the backpack, the handcuffs click - accompanied by a few punsches. The backpack is actually still unopened in the car. This, is probably due to the long-considered purchase of the PackSafe backpack. It is equipped with special lockable zippers and cannot be easily cut thanks to an integrated steel net. Oh yes, and you can also chain it up!


Then we then go directly to the police station in the escape car. How bizarre is that, please?! Shortly afterwards, in handcuffs and pity-catching face, the two arrested also arrive there. You don't want to look at them. The whole situation is very scary. According to initial findings from the police, it is an organized gang from Quito. More mobile phones, a watch, a camera and four devices for reading/copying credit cards are found in the car.

However, the most important thing, after an intensive check of the backpack:

Everything is still there!


Now you can think that everything ends well. But it's not over for a long time, this crazy story.

It's really incredible luck that the backpack including complete content, is - we can call it - "secured". However, there is no way of getting our things back, yet.

Part 2 under construction…


 

*The English version of this blog is supported by automated translation*

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