A Travellerspoint blog

Getting there

First steps towards the ants...

sunny 21 °C

It was twenty to eight when the bubbling disorganised bundle of love that is mim hit Gatwick south terminal. I was more than a little worried at being the last to meet everyone and no idea if I was in the right terminal or where exactly in the terminal I was supposed to be…

I had vague memories of an email with the words, eight o clock, and something about the inter continental desk, or was it the continental desk?? By quarter to eight with contact lens solution unbeknown to me dribbling its saline way into the side pocket of my pack and into the waistband of my jeans, wandering the halls of the south terminal a stroke of genius came to me to ask at information, they directed me to the continental desk, which apparently is a whole airline! Who knew?! Hehe.
I was the third out of twenty five to arrive, this was due to the first strike out by my tutor who was later to be dubbed ‘Captain vague’ his plan to leave Manchester with four hours to get to the airport (obviously scant time to make the journey which could take anything up to five hours in rush hour) had left them stuck on the M25 circular when the last call to our flight should have been made…fortunately it was delayed, a blessing when at any other time it would have been a curse.

The flight I shall describe only briefly as revisiting it makes a small part of me die inside, it was the worst of my life, for the first time ever suffering with unholy travel sickness, broken only by a brief reprise in Houston airport where I was interrogated duly by an airport attendant who looked and spoke like an out of work actor whose preferred film role was that of an airport attendant. Photo, fingerprints, DNA and urine samples taken we only just made our connection and the flight onwards was equally hellish.

Touching down in Quito I was too weak and delirious to be excited and slumped into my bed in the seventies throwback hotel dorm room that had been arranged in advance.

I have little to say in praise of the city Quito, apparently it boasts the highest airport in the world; this affected me only in that I suffered from mild altitude sickness. It is a city like any other. There is an area dubbed ‘gringo land’ where you may find trendy bars, internet cafes and kitsch neatly decorated restaurants and eateries with menus in many languages and over priced “been there done that get the t-shirt HERE” shops. I was intrigued by the hideous stench of the city; each new corner rounded presented the olfactory senses with a new intriguing and offensive scent. To be fair on the Ecuadorian capital every so often the smell was delicious, fresh doughnuts or ‘street meat’ sizzling on an open tin drum fired by petrol (I tried this kind of merrily vended culinary delight in Brazil and swiftly came to the conclusion that generally although very tasty could be nothing other than rat meat.)

The next few days were filled with meetings and talks on what to expect in the jungle which managed to fill me with the dread that I was totally ill equipped and led to a whirlwind shopping spree to acquire forgotten essentials like long sleeved tops and socks that would actually cover my ankles (surely my staple trainer sock would just not do!) this was sparked mostly by a talk in the American explorers club on what insects and animals to expect in the jungle, a full run down of these to follow…

Posted by mim 12:10 Archived in Ecuador Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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