June 30, 2006

It’s 1.20 am on d-day.

I’ve been up since 7.30 this morning packing. First, my life into my garage, Second my immensely heavy rucksack.

I’m very tired. I should go to bed and panic about what I’ve forgotten tomorrow. (Wonder what I have forgotten?)

Anywhooo it’s too late now… did just want to say a couple of Oscar-esque thank-yous… (excuse gushyness, it’s late and i’m emotional)

– thanks to home for letting me go and sending me off with some lovely stuff (all of it is packed btw, although I don’t know if the stitching on the bag will hold up to the trip!)

– to all of you who sent me texts of good luck this afternoon (my phone is now off and will be back on just before new year)

– and my mum for making my favourite tea and being a complete rock. Dad, look after her!

There we go, next time it’ll be from Ecuador…  



Just wanted to say a masseeeve thanks to all of you who came along to Sandinista on Saturday. I had a really good night and it was really lovely to be able to say goodbye to all of you. I've uploaded some pics of the night onto flickr… if you get chance have a look.

Watched the England match yesterday – to check out the Ecuadorian's as much as anything. Didn't see any particularly gorgeous men… but there you go. Probably a good thing, as I'd get too distracted whilst I'm out there knowing me!

And then last night on Channel five they showed 'Proof of Life' with Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan – all filmed in Ecuador and Quito. So if you want to know what it's like… that's what it's like. Made a mental note to pack more warm clothes, because it looks wet, cold and rainy most of the time. (I'm hoping that that's just the mood they wanted to create for the film, and really it's sunny and warm – will let you know).

So that's it. 3 days of work and then I'm out of here.

Hasta Luego! 


In case you've been living under a rock and haven't found the joy that is Sandinista yet, here are the details.


Sandinista (near the Grand Theatre in Leeds)


5-5a, Cross Belgrave St, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 8JP

Tel: 0113 305 0372

They do Tapas here until about 9pm on Saturdays, so a few of us will probably get some food there.

T-10… the leaving do

June 19, 2006

I should have written this post ages ago… but I'm rubbish and socially disorganised at the moment.

Saturday June 24th. 8pm Sandinista.

If you fancy having a couple of drinks, want to say goodbye, or just want to ask for your clothes/DVD/Books/that fiver you loaned me/etc back – this is your chance. If I have it and it's yours let me know – otherwise it's being packed up or given to a charity shop and you won't see it again until sometime next year or when someone else wears it down the street. EVERYONE IS WELCOME, please come.

There might be some kind of food in town earlier… but I don't know where (it would seem that Mojo and Fujo Hiro have both heard that I'm going away and have chosen inconveniently to have refurbs – although it should be said that Mojo will just about be open again by June 24th – phew!) Any suggestions for an easy, informal food venue welcome, otherwise it's curry or Freds at 10pm.

Leaving do aside, I'm almost done. Helen is going to come and live in my house with Laura (she's lovely, so if you see her out and about please be nice to her). My last day in work is Wednesday 28th. Mobile switched off Thursday 29th until Jan 07, keeping same number, so don't delete me! Car goes into parental storage on 30th June.

I can't believe it's all happening. In exactly 2 weeks time (Quito are 8 hours behind GMT) I'll be walking down the street in Quito on the way to my first Spanish lesson. A 2 hour one-to-one lesson actually – which I'm sure is going to be rock hard. I really didn't think this trip through. Idiot, idiot girl.

Anyway, that's it. I'll leave you with some pics that I hope are better than Jon Bon Jovi (Jim, I'm taking your comments seriously!) These are my first efforts as an amateur photographer. Clearly I hope to improve, but don't want to promise anything.

See you Saturday ~ x 

Well, Spanish lessons seem to be on the agenda. Just had an email from Anne (the girl I'll be replacing) asking me how many lessons I'd like.

I told her my spanish has been largely learnt on holiday in Lanzarote and from tapes in my car over the last five years. (Incidentally there were 4 tapes in the set and I'm still on number 2). I have also just had a painful realisation that owning a shelf of Spanish books, borrowing learn spanish CDs and owning a Spanish dictionary and phrase book, has not improved my Spanish one flippin' bit.

Mum says before she went out to live and work in Germany she was spending hours in the language labs at Leeds University. Rats, I have not. I hope Ecuadorian Spanish turns out to be related to French. As somehow, having not been to France for 10 years, I can still remember more of my school French than the Spanish I've been pretending to learn for years.

I don't know how many Spanish lessons I'll need. How long is the proverbial string? How good do I have to be when I'm finished? Will I ever be finished? Anne seems to still be having Spanish lessons now, and has been there for 5 months. If I take Spanish lessons every week for 6 months, I'll definitely improve – but I'll also be broke. I hadn't budgetted for six months Spanish tuition.
Incidentally, I had also been told that where I'd be staying was a wilderness of cold showers and basic accommodation. Working for board and lodgings would suit my new soon to be subsistence existence (and also be a great shock to my system). However as Sally revealled her address in Quito City to me yesterday, I learnt that I am in the hub of all night clubs and bars. (I'm not very good at resisting night clubs and bars). So I can see financial planning for the trip will need some adjustment if I am to come back with any cash to pay my road tax in January.

Hoh hum. Exciting times.

Morning all,

Two and a half weeks left before I go… all this waiting around is a bit naff.

Officially started washing and ironing clothes that I can't wear before I go away again now. Small pile in corner of bedroom of factor 40, plug adapting thing and ironed shorts all ready to be packed.

Technically that's only 13 full days at work. Ick.

The lovely Emma's doing a sterling job of downloading the contents of my brain into her notebook, so that she can continue the good work whilst I'm gone.

Spent Saturday at Bramham Horse Trials having 'quality time' with my Dad. Frances, who's helped to organise my trip was there in her official capacity as Press Officer – and she looked pretty busy. Good news is that wearing my barbour hat and factor 40 I didn't burn at all. Bring on the Ecuadorian heat (but possibly not the altitude).

Quito is almost at 3,000 meters and according to Sally (owner of Ride Andes) my initial days will be spent 'aclimitising'. Hmmm. That doesn't sound like too much fun. Bring on the coca-tea, tea made from cocain leaves and a bunch of other stuff, which is drunk by locals to alieviate altitude sickness.

In between getting used to the heat and the altitude, I'll be having some Spanish lessons 7USD a pop I think. So in case any of you think I'm going for a holiday… urr, no, I'm not.

Any last minute packing tips appreciated…


little ol’ me

June 7, 2006

At the beach – Australia, December 2004


after I learnt I could fly to Australia on my own back in 2004… all kinds of travel ideas started coming into my head!

This is me at Cronulla Beach, near Sydney.

Pic taken by my long standing and worldwide travel friend, Katherine.
(K – I'll let you know the seat number for the Miami flight soon!!)