The positive parasite

As well as visiting Peru I managed to spend a couple of days in Bolivia.  I have had a persistent stomach upset ever since leaving there several days ago.

It is possible I picked up a parasite (I knew I shouldn’t have brushed my teeth with the local tap water).  I am arranging to get a test and find out.

However, for the last few days I have been uncharacteristically positive and happy, had loads of energy, coped amazingly well with dreary everyday demands and I have written regularly.

So perhaps the parasite is eating all my negativity?

Maybe I should just keep it and give it a name.

It bloody rains a lot in South America

Just over four years ago I had my delayed mid-life crisis.  This mainly consisted of waking up in the middle of the night thinking “I don’t want to end up lying on my death bed regretting all the things I didn’t do”.

Eventually this crystallised into a sort of plan.  “I want to go somewhere warm and work with animals”.  The somewhere warm ended up being Ecuador.  So having always been a bit of a wimpy, middle-aged traveller even when I was a teenager (blame my parents, I do, for most things) I suddenly had to be adventurous and go to South America.

I spent six weeks in Ecuador, one month volunteering at an animal rescue centre and two weeks being a tourist, scratching a couple of things off my bucket list (Galapagos; rainforest).  I loved it.  So much that I came back last September, this time to work in Ecuador for nine months as an ESL teacher. Also I hope to travel around and see some more of Latin America.

But what concerns me is the “somewhere warm” issue.  On my first visit I stayed for four weeks in a city in the north of Ecuador (about an hour’s drive from the Colombian border) called Ibarra.  There was the odd rain shower but mostly it was sunny.  And warm. Even though it was October.

The Galapagos Islands were blazing hot and dry.  Yes, the rainforest was, well, rainy.  But it was hot rain and I was so distracted by the amazing things I was seeing that I didn’t really care.

So possibly I got a misleading impression of South America being mainly warm and dry.

When I returned last year I came to work in Cuenca, a city in the south of Ecuador.  It is up in the Andes, but so was Ibarra so I had expected a similar climate.  Guidebooks describe Cuenca as having “a year-round spring-like climate”.  This is probably accurate if they mean a British spring-like climate where it pisses down with rain a lot.  Plus it’s surprisingly cold at night.

Before I go any further I should make it clear that I love living in Cuenca.  It’s a wonderful city and I will write more about this later.  But for now I am sticking with the issue of precipitation.

One of the main reasons I was desperate to leave the U.K. was the rain.  Miserable, grey, cold, drenching downpours that make any journey a major effort.  My mood is vastly affected by the weather.  If it’s grey and rainy I am morose and immobile.  If the sky is clear, the sun is shining, a soft breeze is playing and the birdies are tweeting I feel I can conquer the world.  You get the picture.

What tends to happen in Cuenca is we have a wonderful sunny morning and then a grey and rainy afternoon. Sometimes followed by a grey and rainy evening. I particularly don’t appreciate this as my teaching hours start at 3 p.m. so I usually have to travel in the pouring rain.

Recently I went to Peru for two weeks.  I loved the desert climate of Lima, where it apparently rarely rains.  Yes, it is a little humid, but I am practising for my next planned teaching destination (Thailand) in my eternal quest for warmth and sunlight.

On my way to visit Machu Picchu I stayed in Cusco in the south of Peru and I was once again back in Cuenca’s climate – rain and cold nights.

However, I made an unhappy discovery.  When I was in Lima there was no air conditioning in my hotel room and I was too sluggish to do anything in the heat. There was no heating in my room in Cusco and I was freezing – but I still managed to put some warm layers on and do some writing.  So perhaps my plans to live in a warm climate while trying to be productive are doomed to failure?

And in case you think I’m exaggerating here is a video of a Cuenca rainstorm taken from the window of my apartment.  You may not be able to see the rain, but you will hear it.  In this particular storm hailstones, thunder and lightning were also part of the mix although I did not catch them on film.

So here’s the thing …

… I’m supposed to be a writer.  All my life, pretty much (well at least since I read “A Wrinkle In Time” when I  was eight years old) I have wanted to be a writer.  And I even wrote.  More than that I even sold stuff and got published.  Just a few short stories and articles, but it was something.

So why is it so incredibly difficult to make myself sit down and write?  Every time I think about it I start to panic.  The panic spreads into the rest of my life. Thus in my spare time when I should be writing I find myself sleeping; making cups of tea; reading other people’s writing; watching TV and films online.  Or just sitting paralysed and sick with nerves.  I even start worrying about the things I have to do before I can get some free time to start writing.

Now I’ve written myself into a corner because I finished the last post on a cliffhanger waiting for my husband to arrive.  So good practice would be to carry on from there.  Detail what happened and give some back story.  But actually I feel like writing about other things now.

So I think the only way to escape from this corner is just to publish this post.  As it is.  And then simply carry on writing what I feel like when I feel like it.  Otherwise I will never write at all.


Not everybody automatically fits in to the place and society they were born into.  Some people don’t even fit in to the time they were born into, but there is less that can be done for those poor buggers.

For the rest of us there is the option to change locations.  In my case hemispheres. I have now joined the drifting, misfit ranks of travellers and ex-pats.  Currently in Ecuador for a nine month stint as an English teacher and then hopefully seeing as much of the rest of Latin America as I can afford on the cashed in, tax-free, 25% lump sum of my pathetic pension plan.  Ideally travelling even further afield.  Asia.  Australasia.

But tonight I am sitting in the soupy heat of Guayaquil waiting for my husband to arrive from England on a late night flight.  And I have no idea how I feel about this, or what I expect from this visit.

When I first told him my plan to qualify as an ESL teacher and become a glamorous world traveller he completely lost it.  But when I then proposed the logical next step – we divorce as we have nothing in common, don’t want the same things, don’t even want to live in the same place – he suddenly back peddled.  Told me he was proud of what I was trying to do.  Suddenly started being really nice to me.

And once I’d made it out here three months ago, he told me he was going to come out and visit me.  See what all the fuss was about.  So in about an hour’s time he will be here.

Am I looking forward to seeing him?  I think so.  I still care about him.  I told him he was my best friend and I hoped we could part amicably and remain friends.  He did not seem to see this as a compliment, although later he told me that having thought about it I was also his best friend.

From my experience when I still practised family law, and from what I have seen of friends’ divorces, couples usually split up because they hate each other.  Or because one or both of them have a new partner.  Or a combination of all the above.  None of this was true in our case.

Having had relationships where I was pretty much crawling after guys and hanging on to their feet as they walked away, I didn’t really want to put my husband through that.  As long as he didn’t try to prevent me from going, I was prepared to just leave our relationship to be sorted out later.

Looks like “later” may now be here.


Another fine mess …

Why am I doing this?  Going to Ecuador to teach for nine months I mean.  At the moment the only reason I can think of is that if I don’t go I will just hide under my duvet in  dreary Devon for the rest of my life (such as that is).  Can’t face doing anything else.

I leave nine days from now and I’m not even getting organised to go at the moment.

And this blog is proving incredibly un-user friendly to set up.  Widgets? Contact details? Images?  I can’t even work out how any potential readers would access my posts from my “Static Front Page”.  Or why my tagline doesn’t seem to be showing.

Oh to hell with it,  maybe the world will be saved from my misfit musings after all …..