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Starting this journal a little early...
Quito and the Amazon Jungle

Quito - Old TownQuito - Old Town (Tatjana Kudla)
Today is September 15th. Only 4 days to go and I am getting thoroughly excited. I am so in need of a real vacation! I am looking forward to testing out my new little camera and just hope the battery will last...

September 16th. Starting my shopping shortlist: batteries and a flashlight. Don't want to run over this anaconda in the dark - oops. Seriously, everyone keeps warning me about the dangerous species out there. Relax, people! I am Australia trained. Isn't that where a whole lot of the most dangerous animals live?

September 17th. Got my last shot today. Am now ready to travel the world and the jungle. Some people asked me what I was going to eat... weird question. No, I won't eat crawly and squiggly worms or huge spiders (do they also taste like chicken?) nor the piranhas that nibble my feet. I bet there will be good old fashioned burgers, fries and beer. Cheers to that!

September 18th. A conversation this morning:
Friend: "Are you all packed?"
Me: "Already?? Kidding?? I am leaving tommorow... ooohh tomorrow... yeah, no. I'll pack tonight I guess..."

September 19th. 1.10am - all packed. 50 minutes ahead of schedule. :) My flight leaves early afternoon, so enough time for a quick 9 mile run and coffee.

I am leaving the plane armed with 2 hand drawn maps of Quito, a list of Ecuadorian foods I need to try, a list of fruit juices I need to taste, all the sights
I have to see and where to get souvenirs. Miguel, an Ecuadorian living in Houston and sitting next to me on the flight, prepares me fully for my trip. Here is the food list: Tostado, Humitas, Higos con queso, Locro de papa, Fritada, Tortillas de papa (Llapingacho) and fruit juices: Naranjilla and Mora.

I realized my Spanish was too advanced when I heard the pilot say that the temperature in Quito is 12C. And for the few who don’t know, I don’t speak any Spanish. It’s nice being back in a country though where temperature and distance have an instant meaning to me, but 12C? That would have been better disguised in Fahrenheit…

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