Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who want want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.
Awake at 9:30am, I want to enjoy my last moments in Cusco with my new friend Breean from Los Angeles even though she’s really from Wisconsin, but I suppose I would deny the shame of growing up in the badger state as well. Our day begins with a slow walk around the mercado enjoying the cool morning air as the local women continue to put out their fruits and vegetables on colorful pieces of clothing hoping to entice potential buyers. As we make our way to the Plaza de Armas we find a quaint coffee shop and sit and enjoy a coca tea with our finger puppets. Yes, although we may be children of the 80s we are in fact still kids at heart. Even though the flight isn’t until 3pm, we have the luxury of lingering over our conversation of future plans for Leonard, Ian, and Ward to share in global adventures.
Six and a half hours later we reached the bus terminal at Guayaquil and had to wait almost 3-hours for our bus to Montanita. The entire time we were waiting I felt completely exhausted and just layed with my head on the table in the food court. Several times Karleen and Char asked why I was so tired and I had no idea. It never occurred to me that I was sick. I remembered later that the day we left Mancora, Miguel another hilarious new friend from NYC but grew up in the Dominican Republic was bed ridden. We all assumed it was bad shellfish that he ate. Just before 1pm we arrived in Montanita, and this was certainly one of the most difficult bus journeys I’ve ever experienced. For three solid hours I just kept telling myself, “don’t throw up, don’t throw up.” As soon we stopped on this dirt road what I was guessing was the center of town I stumbled to the sidewalk and threw up. Thankfully the girls were there to accommodate me and scouted a few places to stay, and we decided on splitting a triple bed hotel room. Entering the room it reminded me of something that would be condemned on East Colfax, but since there was a toilet I didn’t care. Since this was one of the only triple rooms available, I told the girls that they should share the double bed and I would take the single since I doubt either of them wanted to be anywhere near me in my state. Leaving me to my pain curled up in the fetal position between dashing trips to the toilet, the girls set out to explore the small beach town. After only a few hours they returned looking slightly green as well. For the next three days it looked like a horror movie had overtaken our bathroom. Spewing from both ends, often fighting to get in the small bathroom, it is a fine example of the ugly side of travel. Later, we think it was a stomach bug that was passed from Miguel. All in all after we had seen each other in such an awful state we still talk about it and laugh as it’s just one of the realistic sides of travel in general. I was quite thankful that this was the first time in over a year that I was even remotely sick for all of the time spent in third world countries.