I was chosen to lead the ultimate tour of South America way back in September. Everything happened very quickly, and here I am, in a Quito hotel room, anticipating the start of ‘El Circuito’ tomorrow as we begin our expedition through 9 countries in 171 days. Not a bad cricket score that, 171-9…I think. To be honest I’m more of a fan of sports that don’t include breaks for tea and crumpets.
I digress. Apologies for the lack of recent activity on this blog, as I’ve had to do a fair amount of research to prepare. At least I got to pop back home to Dublin for the last month to see family and friends – a welcome but unexpected bonus! I was also delighted that The Irish Times published my follow-up article (link below) – I had originally pitched the title of the article as ‘Slothing Around Central America’, but no dice. Oh well.
Unfortunately the region in the title of this blog is a bit of a misnomer now, but I think I’ll keep it anyway. I will understandably be a lot busier on this new tour but I’ll still post updates when I have the time! In this part of the world, there’s always a good story yet to be told. While there may not be as many sloths south of the equator, rest assured that there will be at least one Irish eejit still slothing around.
I travel for a living, so I’m used to whole days spent on buses and boats. But probably the worst travel day I’ve ever had was returning to San José from Dublin back in July. I organised a pub crawl for my last night in Dublin and set my alarm to go home at 6am. I had banked on getting my sleep on that 9-hour morning flight, but it was a gamble that backfired spectacularly.
The plan worked like clockwork…except for the 5-hour delay in Dublin Airport. The worst part was getting called to gate every half-hour and then being told another fault with the plane had been found. Once finally on the plane, I couldn’t sleep as I had seemingly been put in the 0-5 age category section of the plane. Great craic.
I had already missed my connecting flight so I had to spent the night in Atlanta. All in all, it took me 38 hours to get from from door to door. Exhausting.
The roads around here generally aren’t to the same standard as Europe, for obvious reasons, but the driving style would get you banned off European roads within a few months. The worst I have seen is Panama City. Every taxi ride should be advertised as if it were its own rollercoaster at Disneyland. You’d be amazed to discover Panama has no current Formula 1 drivers, although considering the majority of cars have major dents or scratches, that may not be too much of a surprise.
You take your life into your own hands as a pedestrian when crossing the road. I usually have no problem crossing roads at any point (a bad habit from living in Dublin’s city centre) but here I always stick to the crossing points. Also if there is a local person crossing at the same time I tend to shadow their movements. They know what they’re doing, right?