At 4:15 am this morning our chirpy little circus clan awoke bleary-eyed and anxious. I even serendipitously uttered our catch-phrase out loud “People! Let’s get the show on the road!!!” Incident #1 reared its sneaky little head circa 5:25 am as we headed for the elevator with a trolley full of gear; Alvi decided he might have left his hat in the room. {sidebar: Alvi has trademarked the phrase “idiot check”, which consists of spending a solid 10-15 minutes in any hotel room or rental car to double check on the status of our idiotness and claim any rogue items. I kid you not; this is his schtick.} His realization was followed up by a lengthy conversation on who had the room key, and why I would have thought it smart to leave it in the room (first key was lost in first hour of check-in). Being on the 10th floor and all, and knowing there was a shuttle full of other early birds waiting to haul ass to the airport, I politely suggested we all go down to the shuttle and he could then request a new room key and make his way back up. I had a suspicion this would not be quick. Long story short, we went to the shuttle, he grabbed a key and headed back to the room. Lo and behold, on the trolley underneath his backpack was his freaking hat. As I could see people impatiently shifting in their shuttle seats, I contemplated heading upstairs myself to tell him to let it go and that we had found it. Yet I knew this would most certainly develop into one of those cat and mouse games and so I sat and attempted to make small talk with the nice flight attendants who were incessantly checking their watches. Eventually Captain Plavins made his way onto the bus to find me holding his hat in my hand with just one thing to say: “IDIOT.”

Of all our adventures, collective and individual, the airport and flight experiences were the smoothest we have ever had. I found myself wondering if this was a sign? Saffy being Saffy enabled us to zip ahead of any line-up and this continued on through to Bogota, Colombia. Piper wants me to let you all know she accidentally walked into the mens room at the airport in Bogota — a feat which her sister will never let her shake down lol. Our only teeny tiny mishap there was not having any proper currency nor the time to exchange so that we could grab food before the final leg of the flight. Our gate was literally in the farthest most remote wing of the airport, tucked further into obscurity in the basement. Random! We only had 35 minutes so I didn’t want to risk wandering around for a food court. People were getting *hangry*, however. Ever the adventurer, I bolted back up three flights of stairs and decided to try my luck at the souvenir shop. I found some juice and cheese. Yup — just big hunks of cheese. No crackers, no chips, no peanuts. Just cheese. “Oh well,” I thought to myself. One of the two kids will eat this (Piper is lactose intolerant) and the other can have this unfamiliar-fruit-beverage. Neither of these thoughts were well-received. So there we were…. sitting on the floor at an airport in Colombia, all nibbling on one ball of cheese like deprived mice at their last supper. Saffy wound up flinging the cheese over towards the lady with the extra-curvy booty (like I’ve never seen anything like this. Ever.), it rolled on the floor and came to a stop at her feet. 🙁 Bye cheese. Piper also hated the qu’est-ce que c’est fruit juice.

Post *cheese flinging* episode. A blurry pic but look at that kid's face.

Post *cheese flinging* episode. A blurry pic but look at that kid’s face.


16 degrees and overcast in the capital city of Colombia at 2,550M.


So so tired.

We blitzed through immigration with lightning speed and could not believe we had made it: ECUADOR!!! Making our way through the arrivals section we were greeted by my friend and our guide (for the next 2 weeks), Joaquin Andino. It was fantastic to see his beautiful smiling face and feel his warm hug! Joaquin was my mountaineering guide on the four climbs I did (attempted to do) in Ecuador this past November.

Everyone immediately commented on the heat. The HEAT!!! It was 36 degrees celsius and humid beyond belief at 5:00pm in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Welcome to the equator, people! We were all captivated by the hoards of fish outside the airport. I will let Saffy tell you that particular story… check out her blog post under her own section in the menu.


Outside of the airport. Stoked to finally be off planes!


So many hungry fish outside the airport!


Random kong-like monkey thing guarding the entrance to the tunnel.

I was immediately grateful to have structured our adventure in this way: (1) hire Joaquin to allow us the chance to adjust, rest our brains and ease in to the new culture (2) after 2 weeks of this luxury we would be completely winging it — Gong Show Style all the way, baby! Joaquin took us to our hotel which neighbours with the most insane thing I have ever seen: a literal city park specifically commissioned for thousands of iguanas. They. Were. Everywhere.!!!! High up in the trees, clinging to the branches, on the path, on the benches, literally EVERYWHERE! Saffy was full-tilt smitten and yanked an iguana tail or two (or three).


Just hangin’. Pigeons and iguanas co-existing in harmony lol.


Sara this pic was taken for you. Look at them all: they’re coming for you.


Beautiful church by the Iguana Park.

Eventually we made our way to this beautiful boardwalk that hugs the large river snaking through Guayaquil. We met up with Joaquin’s stunning wife, Diana, and enjoyed a traditional Ecuadorian meal together. Of note: it’s going to be a challenge to get food into Saffy. She’s so picky we had to dumb everything right down to the lowest common denominator and even then she was concerned.

Morning comes early…. we are all bagged and so I’ll sign off for now. One point of observation: I can find myself starting to mentally “come down” and it is truly the most foreign feeling ever. When you’re running mock-10 and trying to maintain this pace for months on end, it wears you down in very subtle ways. The days leading up to our departure found me making up words and nearly speaking in some sort of tongue I was so fried. It’s a blessing that we can take this time to detox from the hurried life we have created back home. I need this. I’m grateful. So so grateful.