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Trip Start Sep 19, 2005
Trip End Mar 19, 2006

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Hello everyone!

Well this is pretty much it - the last entry in my 6 month journey round South America (or bit of it anyway). I am currently ensconced in the very posh hotel in Lima that I booked for myself as a bit of a treat after 6 months of dorms, bad matresses and shared bathrooms.

Its lovely! The biggest bed I have ever seen in my life, free champagne and more English TV channels than you can shake a stick at. So all in all I am pretty happy.

The last couple of weeks in Ecuador have been spent being ill with a bit of a flu thing, and then heading towards the Equator which was a little goal I had set myself before I head back. So now I have made it from the southern tip of South America to the Equator just north of Quito.

The day out to the equator was quite funny as the Ecuadorian government (along with some "help" from some French scientists), managed to put the huge monument marking the centre of the earth in the wrong place! So there is a huge, touristy "city at the centre of the earth", complete with lines drawn on the ground etc, in totally the wrong place (something like 250 metres out of place!).

If you skirt round the edge of this monstrosity, you get to a small museum thing which marks the actual equator, apparently proved by GPS and various experiments. That bit was much more interesting than the tourist trap next door, and our guide showed us how water swirls different directions either side of the equator and straight down on the equator itself; how you are "weaker" on the equator (by pushing your arms down a few metres away which is really hard if you resist, but much easier to push when you have your feet either side of the equatorial line!). You can also balance an egg on a nail at the equator (well, I couldn't but everyone else managed it!)

So now I am back in Lima and just waiting for my flight tomorrow.

Although I've had the most brilliant time in South America, I'm really looking forward to coming home to a few home comforts (and, after the backpack incident, some clean clothes!). There are so many things I will miss: the excitement of arriving somewhere new and not having a clue where I am going, everything being totally bargainous, all the new sights and sounds, the decent weather (although I'm not really brown), the lovely people I have met, and most of all the sheer unadulterated freedom of not having to be anywhere at any particular time for a whole 6 months.

Having said that, there are things I won't miss at all: sticking out like a sore thumb with silly coloured hair, dorms, rubbish showers, not knowing where to buy stuff and then spending 3 hours looking for an envelope, people asking why I'm not married and most of all, spending hours on buses! But all that stuff is a small price to pay for such a great trip.

The only regrets I have, I think, are not quite getting really good at Spanish (not dreamt in Spanish yet which is disappointing), and not making it to the jungle. Just too many mossies at this time of year I think! Still, there is always next time!

So, thank you to everyone who has been reading my ramblings, and emailing etc to keep in touch. Hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it - its been really good to remind myself of all the places I've been and things I have done.

Anyway, see you all in person very soon and wish me luck on getting upgraded on the flight home (yeah, right!).

Sarah xx

p.s if I bore you with hundreds of photos, stories about "when I was in ...." etc etc when I get back, feel free to tell me to get myself back here and stop being dull!
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