I can't walk on water but I've slept around a bit
Posted on the 15th Sep 2012 in the category travel

I don't mind admitting, but I'm not proud to say, that I've slept around a bit in my time. I've dropped off, nodded off, zonked out, napped and took forty winks with the best of them.

Put me near any body of water and I'll be sleeping within minutes no matter how beautiful the scenery is. I've fallen asleep on the Zambezi, the Hudson, Chesepeake Bay, the Mississippi, The Colorado, the backwaters of Kerala and now the mighty Napo River in the Amazon. There is something beautiful about big rivers and river life. It slows down all my senses and banishes the stress of city life. Perhaps it is being the product of a childhood loving Huckleberry Finn but I just love big rivers and the life that surrounds them.

The soothing feel of a boat bobbing down a river is heaven for me. I'm not talking about cruise ships but smaller vessels, I've slept on all manner of boats from canoes to pleasure boats. When I sit down and am a matter of metres from the water I close my eyes and let the moist breeze blow onto to my eyelids. Within seconds I get transported to a world of flitting between consciousness and unconsciousness. Often unaware whether I'm dreaming or am awake as fragments of conversations above my head roll into one. The trouble of sleeping though is I always miss beautiful scenery, spectacular wildlife and fantastic flora and fauna. However, the flip side is I have woken up in some great places.

There is something magical in those few seconds when I awake and I've no idea where I am. So when the realisation I'm on water dawns I always have a happy surprise. But of course I'm not the best company when asleep. Yesterday I woke up in a picture perfect lake in the black waters of the Amazon.

Amazingly the number of foreigners who have floated on that lake is in the low thousands, ever. I'm not sure how many of them slept on there but due to its tranquil beauty I damn well kept my eyes open until we left the special place, and only then I went back to the land of nod.

Flying from Quito to Coca had me living la-vida-loca
Posted on the 12th Sep 2012 in the category travel

Getting from A to B is often the worst part of travel but I just enjoyed the best flight of my life in Ecuador.

Flying out of an airport slap bang middle of the country´s capital city Quito to Coca in the Amazon basin was something I will never forget. The 35 minute journey took the Spanish Conquistadors five months when they first entered the Amazon basin all those centuries ago.

Quito airport is the kind of place where dogs come through on the baggage carousel and the security guards laugh amongst themselves as you saunter through security. Nestled in the Andes Quito is the second highest capital city in the world and as the small plane reached for the sky it was like we could see into the bedrooms of the tower blocks we flew past.

I marvelled at the human endeavour that created a city in the middle of a topographical nightmare. Two days walking and driving the streets and hills of the hectic city did not give us the chance to see over the mountains and volcanoes that looked down on us. But within minutes of taking off I saw lakes at the top of mountains and the deep crevaces of the equator for which the country is named after.

Before a normal flight´s seatbelt lights would have gone off the crew had already doled out chocolate milkshakes and blackberry juices as Latin cover versions pumped out the sound system. It was the kind of flight where youd resort to violence to get a window seat but I managed to get one with just a smile. And how glad I was.

I´ve flown over the Alps and Greenland but the Andes beats the lot. The sky was clear and I could see for miles how mountains gave way to dense jungle in the amount of time it takes to suck my milkshake dry.
Even the hardened oil workers on the flight could not help but gawp out of the window pointing at one natural wonder after another.

And then as the plane descended the mighty river Napo came into view and as we touched down I only had one complaint, one that I´ve never had before, why couldn´t the flight have lasted longer.


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