Around half the world in 24 hours
My alarm wakes me up at half past three, one hour and a half after I went to bed. As usual my planning has been a disaster. The travelgear I ordered on the internet wouldn't have arrived before today if I wouldn't have picked it up myself yesterday, my bank cards seemed to have arrived just in time but they still had to be activated by taking out money at an ATM in Holland (only then I realized that I didn't put any money on my new account yet, just too late to transfer money to it before the banks closed), I had to get some dollars and my malaria pills... at eleven at night I started to pack my bag and three hours later I was almost ready to go.
After a shower there's an hour left for the last things on my to-do list, a last Dutch breakfast with peanutbutter and chocolat sprinkles in between, and only fifteen minutes late I'm ready to go to Schiphol.
There I suddenly see my brother Koen and his girlfriend, while I really thought I had said goodbye to them already at sunday. Sweet! A little later I pinch myself to be sure I'm not dreaming when I see that night-person Thijs also came all the way to Amsterdam to say goodbye to his sister. Obviously we all thought it was time for a coffee then. I got my dollars and then finally the bank was awake too, so the money was transferred to my account just in time for me to activate my cards while still in Holland. One last wave after the passport controll... Nelly is on her way!
Ten hours later the boeing 777 with me on board lands at Houston, Texas. I feel like everyone´s fooling me because of the way they are such a parody of ¨Americans¨: the chewing-gum waitress, the enquete-man with the cowboy hat and that huge accent make me wonder if I didn´t end up in some cheap movie production. After filling in the application form for a transit visa (about my physical and mental medical condition in detail, my involvement in terroristic or Nazi activities and/or genocide (?)) I expect the worse. But I'm wrong: I don't have any problem at all passing through, although it still takes me one hour and a half to get to the other side. After a cup of American coffee, I only have to wait one hour and a half for my flight to Quito. Every disadvantage has it's advantage (said Johan Cruijff).
But I do start to feel a bit tired now: it may be only five o'clock, in Holland it's midnight now and my inner clock tells me that explicitly, especially after skipping last night. I'll do nothing but sleeping in that plane! But I'll have to hang on for a bit more: exactly around boarding time a huge thunderstorm passes by. After one hour of nid-nodding we can get in. Finally!
But I don't get to sleep at all in the end, because the baby on the lap of the woman next to me also suffers from a jetlag. Loudly. After a chicken wrap at five in the morning that gives me an aching stomach, and two hours more of maintaining myself, we land in the darkness humping and bumping in Quito. I choose the wrong line ("Ecuadorian residents") so I make it to the passport controll much faster than my fellow tourist travellers. Sorry guys! A stamp and a simple "welcome to Ecuador" and there I go towards the baggage belt. My backpack turns out to have made the right transfer too, and Pedro is already waiting for me with my name on a paper in his hand. I've arrived....
Or, well... almost. Only forty kilometers of bending mountain roads to go. Luckily Pedro keeps me awake with his questions and comments, his style of driving, shotcuts and manoeuvres to avoid the stray dogs on the road. But we end up safely at the front door of Casa Oriente, my home for the next few months. It's two at night, nine in the morning in Holland. I've got no idea what I'll see when I wake up tomorrow; the mist and the dark keep the city secret for me now. I only hear half of what Pedro says once I've seen a glimpse of my bed. Skipping two nights is a bit too much. Sweet dreams!