Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Two Months

FirstHotelInSouthAmerica
Two months ago, we flew from Denver to Quito, Ecuador; this is the first picture we took after landing (we are not going to inflict the picture of our airline meal on you yet).  Sometimes it feels like yesterday, other times, it’s a lifetime ago.  We struggled with Spanish more than we expected.  We took the guide books’ dire safety warnings at face value (in retrospect, Quito, like almost everywhere we’ve been, was less dangerous than most US cities).  We were excited, nervous, and drinking from a firehose of very different stimuli.  We had no idea if we had packed too much, too little, or just the wrong kind of stuff.

Since then, we’ve taken 4800 pictures, a total of 94GB.   We’ve posted about 360 of those, with another 150 queued up for posts we haven’t written yet.  We’re still struggling with Spanish (Argentinian Spanish was like a different language).  We’re still excited, but I think we’ve left nervous behind.  We chuckle at some of the tips in the guide books now—generally, the most dangerous things on the streets are the streets themselves (or lack thereof).
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We’ve slowed down a little, but need to figure out how to slow down more. The firehose is still on full blast, but we’re finding ways to sip from the side of the torrent.

For the most part, our luggage, clothes, and gear have worked quite well.  Lana’s larger bag suffered a tear, but it’s covered by warranty, and a replacement is awaiting us at our next layover.  We’ve taken advantage of a few redundant gear items (one memory card reader that failed, and one European power adapter lost), and have replaced a few stained/torn clothes.  We’ve acquired just three, non-replacement, non-consumable items: a warm alpaca wool hat for Lana (priceless on the Inca trail), a butter knife for spreading peanut butter on our cheap picnic lunches (which TSA won’t confiscate), and a pair of shoes Lana could not resist buying, but will be shipped home soon.  The only souvenirs we’re taking are small denomination bills from each country, which are much smaller, lighter, and generally cheaper than anything we could buy.  The dollar bill is from Ecuador, which uses the US dollar for currency.

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While we’ve been travelling in South America for two months, it's been 120 days since we left our house in the hands of a renter. We left Colorado to start our road trip in North America 111 days ago.  We’ve been to 7 countries, eaten guinea pig, swum with penguins, and hiked on both glaciers and volcanoes.   Lana’s had two falls with skin loss and bruises, and David has had one fall, reinjuring his left knee.  We’ve both had a head cold that clung on for more than three weeks.  Despite our primitive grasp of Spanish, we’ve been treated with incredible patience and warmth by the locals in every country. 

We know we’ve only been to half the countries in South America, and there was so much of those countries that we didn’t see even half of.  We could spend another 10 months here and not see it all. But it’s time to move on now, and we’re ready to go.

This won’t be the last picture we take in South America, but it is the last place we will stay here:
LastHotelInSouthAmerica