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November 24th 2007
Published: November 24th 2007
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Nu House Boutique Hotel QuitoNu House Boutique Hotel QuitoNu House Boutique Hotel Quito

Yup, I have a plush bathrobe. Gooood times
If you'd have told me two years ago that by Nov. 2007 I would have visted all six populated continents of the world, I NEVER would have believed you.

Yet, here I am, just 13 months after Derek, Mark, and I first boarded the plane for Australia, typing a blog entry from Quito, Ecuador, South America. I made the first half of it all happen--my world tour took me all over Australia, SE Asia, and Europe. But since I returned in March Scouting has been doing a nice job of taking care of the rest of it. First I went waaay north to the Yukon, then I went back to England to the world scouting jamboree and then to the Gambia, Africa. to develop a Scout camp. Further domestic Scouting travel took me east to Ottawa. Now, here I am in Quito. Who knew?

I have to be honest, though. I definitely had not been looking forward to this trip over the past week. Too much craziness was happening at home, and it was quite stressful tying up all the loose ends in preparation for leaving. I had to teach myself a full chapter of French so I could
The bathroomThe bathroomThe bathroom

So nice! Complete with an assortment of Jessica-mess. What bathroom is complete without it?
pre-write a test that my class would be writing while I was away. I had to finish an assignment for Molecular Epidemiology and get it handed in. I had to collect food for, feed, and check up on the little critters in the saltwater aquarium at Willows School I help take care of. I had to make sure I passed off all the UVic Curling Club paperwork and fee stuff to Grayson so he could take care of it this week. I had to lend a drill to Jessie for science workshops she's going up to Northern BC to do.... the list goes on. Plus, I really wasn't sure what I was getting myself in to here. Oh, neither do you! I haven't really mentioned why I'm here.

On Thanksgiving weekend I got a call from the Scouts Canada International Commissioner who told me that "my name had come up" and would I like to go to Ecuador "all expenses taken care of?" He wanted me to attend the Interamericas Scouting Conference as a voting youth delegate. It was a lot of school to miss, but it seemed like an opportunity I couldn't pass up so I managed to
That's some good water pressureThat's some good water pressureThat's some good water pressure

SUCH a nice shower. In fact, looking at this picture kind of makes me long for a shower since, as usual, I'm too hot in my room. Yup, gonna go have one right now!
make it work (hopefully it will all work, anyways) thanks to miraculous scheduling and the incredible kindness of my French professor. Then I fly from Quito to Vancouver next Wednesday and immediately go in to the Canadian National Scouting conference. I'll be at that one till Sunday. I couldn't miss it, though, because I'm chairing sessions and filling ab it of an important roll, plus we all know I'm huge glutton for punishment.

After more than 24 hours of traveling (I had to spend that night at my brother's condo in Vancouver because my flight left so early in the morning) I finally arrived in Quito, not at all sure what to expect. As I disembarked the plane I realized that the man who had been sitting in front of me had a World Scouting Emblem on his bag, so I started talking to him. He lived in Houston, so got to take one direct flight! Lucky duck. (I went Vancouver-Houston, Houston-Quito). I was pretty glad to at least have one contact in this foreign country to cling to, just in case! But upon clearing customs I was pleasantly greeted by a big scouting banner and a smiling group of youth and young leaders ready to welcome me to their country. I also quickly discovered that they're all about the 2 or 1 kiss cheek welcome/parting thing, as this large international commissioner from somewhere (who knows where) all of a sudden went in for the kiss. Ah! I think I covered my profound confusion pretty well though. I hate it when places do 1 or 2 kisses, 'cause I never know how many to go for. Anyways, a really nice young guy (forgot his name already. Darn!) who was moderately stressed from coordinating this whole transport thing led me to my "shuttle" (i.e. an 18 year old leader's car) to take me to my hotel. My driver was Andrea(s?) who is a native of Quito. We had quite a nice chat, although I'm not sure he understood everything I babbled off in my way-too-fast English. I need to get back into foreign travel speaking mode.

Ohhhh it sounds like there is SUCH a fun club across the block from my hotel! The music is so awesome. A mix of NA dance stuff with some latin fusion thrown in. Maybe some people will go with me tomorrow night. It's a little loud, but I can't close my window because my room is SO HOT! When I checked the weather forecast a couple days ago it said highs of 15 for the entire week, but it has to be at least 20 degrees right now. I wish I'd packed some cooler clothes... Ugh and I have to wear my stupid, hot, non-breathable tan uniform every day here. That is without a doubt the worst part of scouting conferences. Booooo.

Speaking of my hotel, it's amazing! It's called the Nu Quito Boutique Hotel or something like that. I was rather wary of it going in because I learned from traveling in less than rich countries that the fancier the adjectives in an accomodation's name, the more of a dive it actually is. However, this place is great!!! It really is, I guess, what I would picture a boutique hotel to be. Super trendy and swanky decor, with full stone tiling in the bathroom, one of those basin sinks, beautiful dark walnut wood paneling all over the place, a LG flatron LCD TV, a HAIRDRYIER (you have no idea how concerned I was that it wouldn't have one), and more. There was even a mint on my pillow (although I felt rather sick after eating it--I think I'll stay away from it tomorrow). Plus the staff are really, really, really nice. I'm quite pleased. OH! And perhaps the best part is that I get my own single room, which is quite a rare event when traveling with non-profits (I'll be sharing with some stranger when I get back for the Canadian conference).

It's quite a different style of traveling than I'm used to, that's for sure. That point was really driven home when I opened my curtains to see where the club noise was coming from and to check out the view, and I saw that my room looks right on to the HI youth hostel here in Quito. MAN does it ever look like a dump. I was,somewhat guiltily, filled with an overwhelming sense of thanks that I was NOT staying there. I wouldn't trade my past shoestring budget travel experiences for anything, but I can't deny it has made me appreciate the simple luxuries of a clean pillow and a bit of privacy. It was so lovely just to be able to change for bed tonight without worrying about my bare feet touching the floor (although I must note that even in a place as nice as this, the shower drain still backed up!). I haven't gone all soft, so don't worry. When my next rural adventure comes around, though, I'll be ready!

Ohhh I slept too much on the plane. I knew I shouldn't have done that. Now I can't get to sleep and I have to get up in 5 hours.

I'll try to post a new entry and hopefully some pictures tomorrow. I probably shouldn't be getting back in to the blog at all, though. My scientific writing skills completely deteriorated from the single year off of school, and I blame my incredibly lengthy, wordy, overly-descriptive blog. I still haven't been able to quite get back in to the swing of writing succinct technical documents. I see that has done some major upgrades since my last post, including adding an auto-save feature! Ohhh where were you during my previous travels, auto-save?

This was quite a boring entry, wasn't it? Sorry! I'll try to have some good stories for you tomorrow.


24th November 2007

Not boring at all!
What a thrill to see that you've reactivated your travel blog! Now it's back to the go old days of checking every day to see what new adventures you've been having. I must let Dawna Brand know about this. Good to hear that you arrived in Quito safely.
24th November 2007

Jet Set Jessica
Hi Jess, Keep going like this and you will end up visiting more of the planet than I have in 25 years in the military! I hope you conitnue to enjoy yourself! I'll see you next week in Vancouver.
24th November 2007

Don't blame the shower
Writing is always ying/yang Jess. Don't lose the artistic side for the temporary expedience of your academic career. I'm sorry I have to send you out of town to read your writing again but it is a joy to us all. And don't blame the hotel for the drain backing up -- Oh yee, Queen of the hour long shower. Love always, Dad

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