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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Farewell L’Auberge Inn. Quito, Ecuador, and 8 months in South America


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This is one of the hardest blogs I have written.
I am forced to look back. 
To remember both the good, and the not so good - that has shaped the last 8 months in South America.
After 14 months of travel, you would think I am pretty relaxed at travelling.
Well No.  Not really.
It didn’t help I had food poisoning and was wiped out for the best part of 5 days.
We have had so much to do, and I have had little energy.

Firstly was to book an onward flight to Central America.
That meant commitment, and it also meant cutting short the time we wanted in Ecuador.
When you are travelling and living the free life, one of the hardest things to do is to commit to the future.
It is hard, because there is so much to feel, and we don't want to miss any of it! 
But as I often say, "you can't see it all"!

But we have people to meet, and we want to go and help in an orphanage, so we have a bit of a schedule.

We wanted to go and see a bit more of old Quito, Centro Historico.

We wanted to go to the markets and shops - underground in the San Francisco church catacombs.

We also wanted to do a few more Random Acts of Kindness.  So when we saw the little kids trying to earn money polishing shoes, we decided t let them clean my sons shoes, and then give them all some money.  It was fun to bless them, as they didn't expect it and all the little shoe cleaners gathered for coins.

We wanted to help some more street beggars.  This lady was lovely so we blessed her.

We also had 21 kg of precious memories in the shape of souvenirs we had to box up and send to Australia.  We bought the box and started to pack. But seeing we needed more packing material, we ended up going to Centro Historico and buying a rug and a gorgeous cream llama poncho.  We have some great memories and special treasures in there so we hope they arrive safely.  Also because it cost more than $400 to post. However it was a heck of a lot easier to post than in Bolivia, so that was a relief.

My son wanted to go back to his favourite playground.  I wanted to go the markets at the park, but he just wanted to play.  It is important to give him time to play with other kids, and to let his energy out.

As this is his favourite park, I just sat and watched him have fun.

As I sat with the locals, I was able to study the fine handiwork of their clothing.

This lady is selling ice-cream, but here in South America it doesn't melt.  We have tried it once, but after my food poisoning, I am very wary of street food (mind you my food poisoning was from a store in a mall).

With that mission achieved, we had last minute running around to do.

We had made friends last time we were in Quito in March, so we wanted to connect with them.   So that was a lovely time, and we made some new friends there too.

We had sorted through unwanted Winter clothes, hiking gear, DVD’s and general ‘stuff’ we no longer wanted and we had donated that to the orphanage. And we bought countless new movies on DVD for long bus trips and nights with no electricity, or maybe no TV.

As our suitcases had been broken, we had to buy 2 new bags, so that took a few hours of shopping.  We had tried to get them fixed, but we discovered they were too far gone.

What was also lovely, was that the 3 times we had been to Quito, we had stayed in the same room, at the same Hotel – L’Auberge Inn.  Lovely, clean, neat, quiet, familiar for my son, and not expensive.  Plus they had a great breakfast, and a restaurant for dinner, or a kitchen I could cook in.  They had a pool table, and a garden area.  We loved it there and we would recommend them.

So suddenly we find ourselves facing our last day.  Running around like headless chickens. Going to shopping centres to update so Airline requirements. Booking onward journeys.  Last minute purchases as Ecuador is so inexpensive.  This was all going to plan until it started to bucket down with rain.  But we pressed on.  New clothes and hat for my son, more DVD’s and items we new would be more expensive further on in our trip.  Here you can see us buying some Christmas presents from a street seller.  We got a great deal, but just as we were finalising it, the police came along and tried to stop her.  
I quickly helped pack and pay.  Oh dear, now we have more things to pack!

But I think the hardest thing to face, was to realise this was the end of a big chapter.
This was good-bye to South America. 

Dreams unfulfilled.... 
....We wanted to see the Ecuador coast.

Dream fulfilled.... 
.... Having climbed Machu Picchu. 
.... Flying over the Nazca Lines. 
.... Walking through the Jesuit ruins in Paraguay. 
.... Having stood in the complete silence on the Bolivia Salt Flats.
.... Seeing Rio and the Christ Statue. 
.... Staying at a Desert Oasis.
.... Definitely seeing all the llamas and alpacas in the wild. 
.... Helping the poor in the streets was a highlight to me in Bolivia.
.... Making new friends along the way was also amazing.
So much & so many I will never forget.

Regrets....
.... I do think we did one too many night buses
.... and stayed at one too many below average hostels, 
but all in all the bad helps you experience the good.

The poor make you count your blessings.
The new friends enrich your life.

So now we head on.

GOOD-BYE South America and HELLO Central America.

Central America – I wonder what you will have in store of us?

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