Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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My trip from Mexico to Ecuador was more or less horrific. First, leaving Tulum was painful. I really liked it there, and could easily spend much longer than I did. But more painful was the terrible sickness I was experiencing. The only accurate description was to say that it felt like it "kicked my ass". I was sore, with watery lungs, absolutely no appetite, and so on. Not fun at all.

So, I went to the Cancun airport and bought a ticket to Mexico City, on the spot. If I were to do that in the US, buying a one-way ticket with only carry-on baggage (actually, I did check one thing: a knife), I'd expect to be "randomly picked" for a search. But here, no problem.

I arrive in Mexico City and I feel simply terrible. I find a nice carpeted spot in the corner of one gate to curl up and sleep, or die, either being preferable at that point in time. Sleep came first, and that felt good until I was awoken by the security guard and instructed to leave. Dang. So I wandered downstairs where everything is 100% waxed floor with no chairs allowing sleep (but believe me, I tried). In a fit of desparation, I checked into the airport Marriott for an insane price.

I get to my room only to find -- get this -- that they recently painted something inside and the entire thing stinks of fumes. Slightly more tired than upset, I go to be anyway. The fumes or my sickness eventually get to me and I run to the bath to empty my stomach. I'll say no more than it wasn't pretty. Once cleansed I prop my door open with a chair and go back to sleep. Eventually a security guard, exceptionally confused, says something to me in spanish. I think it was something about closing the door, because I said "Si" and he closed the door (the fumes had gone). I slept.

Later, when I awake, I notice that the alarm isn't going off. And the clock is later than when I set the alarm. At this point I realize I forgot to actually turn the alarm on, and I remind myself to use a wakeup call in the future. I rush down to the terminal, searching for the counter for my airline.

Now, my airline is "Lacsa". It's printed on a "Hahn" ticket, though Hahn has absolutely nothing to do with Lacsa, as far as I can tell. Lacsa is part of "Grupa Teca", a coalition of airlines. I find the Grupa Teca airline and ask for my boarding pass. No problem. Aside from the $50 change ticket fee. And $20 airport tax. And $20 tourist tax. And it can only be paid in US dollars. Of course, I don't walk around that loaded in Mexico, so I rush off to find an ATM or exchange some pesos.

I get my boarding pass and head to the gate. I, looking absolutely horrible I'm sure, go to the nearby bar as the sun rises and get some tea. I drink it, and my water, again and again. Eventually I get on the plane and immediately fall to sleep (I grabbed a whole row for myself).

I arrive in Costa Rica. It's a chore to make myself look out the window, though I can say it looks beautiful from five miles up. I get out of the plane. I get into a different plane and go back to sleep. I arrive in Quito, walk out onto the tarmac, and start the adventure there.

The joys of travel.

(Coming soon)
I waited for my early plane to Costa Rica at an airport bar. Between my hacking coughs, sips on my piping-hot tea, and attempts to suppress nausea, the sun somehow found time to rise.
This was taken moments before I was informed by an agitated worker that it wasn't allowed. David 1, Quito 0.
After an absolutely horrible sickness -- the kind where it feels like continually breathing through a water-filled snorkel -- I've safely arrived in Quito, Ecuador and found my first cup of tea. All is right in the world. Or, it will be when my fleabites fade, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, I must apologize to the Mexican world for so vastly underestimating your country. Until just a month ago, I equated all of Mexico with three images: Tijuana squalor, Cancun excess, and Mexico City smog. I am so extremely happy to learn of my ignorance, and shall strive to atone for my misconceptions henceforth. Now, with that out of the way...

After several attempts to start this paragraph, here is the best I've come up with: Tulum is paradise. It is everything you envision of a remote beach-side cabana. I just don't know where to start. For example, the sand is actually made from tiny bits of the nearby coral reef. The result? The beach is a fine, pure white that r... [more]

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