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Adventure Time!

En route to Quito, Ecuador
I'm sitting in my first-class seat, courtesy of a surprise reassignment, about an hour and a half out of Quito. I left the US in a flurry of activity - tying up loose ends all over the place between South Carolina and Memphis and South America - and I realize that I really have no idea what I'm getting myself into. I'm woefully unprepared for this trip.  I know very little about the country I'm going to visit and even less about the hospital I'm going to be working in and what will be expected of me there. But, then again, I have a tendency to go off half cocked. This won't be the first time I've headed out to spend a month in some far-flung locale with only a very vague idea of what I was doing. I've recently realized that I'm really not a details person. Earth-shattering deduction after nearly 30 years. I mean, I can attend to the minutia and even let it consume me on occasion, but really and truly I prefer to focus on the big picture. So, little details like housing and food and where the heck Shell-Mera is seem pretty inconsequential.  But, somebody's supposed to meet me at the airport, and arrangements have been made for lodging tonight and tomorrow I'll figure out what's going on. I don't know how I'm not freaking out right now, but I feel strangely okay with everything at the moment.  We shall see what Quito has in store... 

Quito, Ecuador: Made it!

On approach the city at night is a web of lights intercalated among the shadowy forms of mountains.  It's unexpectedly cool (given my aforementioned poor preparation), in the 50's and breezy.  Just walking from the gate to passport control I could feel the 9,000+ foot elevation - the air is pretty dang thin. Went through passport control w/o any difficulty and once I finally located my luggage, they passed me through customs w/o even checking my bags at all.  Then I searched the sea of faces in the lobby for my ride...and the person who was to meet me wasn't there. The first little tendrils of panic started to creep up, but I just waited and probably 10 minutes later he came through the door.  I lead a charmed life, truly.   

There is a family who will be traveling with me to Shell - a fellow family medicine doc originally from Cuba and his wife and son.  Prior to his residency, which he just finished, he worked 3 years for the guy in Memphis that I'm going to work with in September. The little boy, probably 10 or 11 years old, won't speak Spanish ("I'm not from Cuba," he says). His mom and dad slowed down to accommodate me.  Gotta get into Spanish mode again. Up early tomorrow to head out to the jungle, and lower altitude.  I'm looking forward to seeing the mountains in the morning.  


Jul. 23rd, 2012 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :-)

Kiddo, who is actually 9 it turns out, was born in Miami. I agree that it's sad that he doesn't want to embrace his heritage. If nothing else, being bilingual is a huge asset! Oh well, maybe he'll grow into his culture.