Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oh, for a pair of red ruby slippers ...

Dorothy had a lot easier time getting back to Kansas ... all she had to do was click her heels together three times and repeat "There's no place like home, there's no place like home".  Wish it was that easy -- instead I have to get on a plane tomorrow morning at 6:45 and change a couple of times in Houston and Cleveland before I finally get off in Toronto about 14 hours later.  That's assuming I make the connection in Houston -- my travel agent gave me a pretty tight window so I'm hoping I can get through customs and security in time!  Would really hate to miss my flight.

I can't believe I'm going to be home tomorrow night.  It feels like forever since I left to go bum around South America, but, paradoxically, the time has also flown by much too quickly.  I'll be glad to get home -- mostly -- but there's so much here that I'd still like to see.  I'll have to take another year off and come back (I'm sure my boss won't mind).

I feel like a Very Bad Traveller lately ... I've been in Quito for three days and I've seen NOTHING of the city.  Well, not nothing, since I get a panoramic view from the rooftop terrace of the hostel, but ... well, nothing.  I haven't set foot outside since I got here. 

A Good Traveller would have ignored the fact that she was sick and gone out anyway, wouldn't she?   Well, I didn't.  I stuck near the bathroom, which seemed more prudent than running around a strange city with an upset stomach.  The weather kind of put me off too -- raging thunderstorm when I arrived, torrential downpours every afternoon and even hail one day.  This is the kind of weather to enjoy best by staying inside and watching it through the window, not by schlepping around in outside while feeling tired and ill.

Plus, that rooftop terrace is really nice (and has a roof, so I didn't get wet in the torrential downpours), so it was very tempting just to stay there all day and hang out.  Everyone else around here seemed to think so too, as the terrace was pretty full all day.

Today I feel almost human again -- I even had breakfast, so real food for the first time in about four days.  (This is one reason why backpacking is so good for the waistline -- at some point, you are bound to get sick and be unable to eat.  The pounds just melt off with a good case of dysentery, especially -- had that in Morocco once.) 

But I still haven't gone anywhere -- I spent today writing instead.  Still not sure if I'm writing the greatest mystery novel of all time, or a complete load of )@(%*&!, but it's a whole lot of fun anyway.  I also ran into a couple that shared a dorm room with me way back in April in Bariloche, so we hung out and chatted for a while -- this Gringo Trail is a small world, indeed.

And I'm still not going anywhere this afternoon, other than to another hotel; I booked a place near the airport (read: expensive) for tonight, since I have check in about 5 a.m. tomorrow, so I plan to go there mid-afternoon (basically, as early as they will let me) so I have ample time to enjoy it.  I don't stay at "nice" hotels often enough to be jaded about them, so I still find it extremely amusing to stay in places that have minibars and room service.  This one even has a casino somewhere so I could even try to win enough to pay for the damn hotel in the first place.

So that's it.  Nearly four and a half months and about $18,000* later, I'm coming home.   Thursday night at Hair of the Dog, anyone?

*South America isn't as expensive as this makes it sound -- $18,000 includes Antarctica, the Galapagos and Easter Island.  Without those 3 things, I'd only have spent about $8,500 here, flights and all.  Yes, I keep obsessive track of my budget and spending while travelling -- surely that doesn't surprise you?

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