Update by Sean & Rachel
The 14 hour time difference might be hard to cope with but boy is it good to be home!
Just to bring you up to speed we spent our final day in Santiago, Chile with our friends Anibal and Carmen and their son Vincent at the house of their friends Diego and Pilar and their three kids. The warmth, good company and marvelous location made it a very memorable last day of our 7 week trip to South America.
Without doubt having friends to connect with in Chile and Ecuador made this family adventure far richer and more rewarding than our previous trips to Europe and Asia. We are extremely grateful to, and humbled by, the hospitality extended to us by our Chilean friends and new Ecuadorian friends. They have a home in Wellington, New Zealand should/when they choose to travel this part of the world.
Our Chilean friends Anibal, Carmen* and son Vincent & friends
- (Sean met Carmen in Wellington, NZ last year when she asked him for directions!)
Our new* Ecuadorian friends Valeria, Jose and sons Gael & Joaquin
- (we met them for the first time in Ecuador)
We certainly will miss the excitement of experiencing new things everyday....
So to keep us grounded here's our list of the top things we noticed on our return, and love about NZ:
1. sweet tasting and smelling water which you can safely drink from the tap!
2. clean air
3. free public toilets which are clean, have soap, paper, actually flush... and you can flush the paper down the toilet
4. veges which are crunchy and taste fresh
5. no touts, hasslers, beggars or hagglers (well ok the odd one in Lambton Quay but they aren't as in your face as they are in Cuba).
6. flat whites with cows milk from a bottle!
7. the friendliest customs officials ever
8. ordering coffees without having to practice your head first and being confident you know what you are going to get
9. Our bed!
And what we will miss about traveling :
1. waking up each morning and bouncing out of bed (despite the crick in the neck from the bad bed) excited about what the day might hold - the unknown.
2. spending each day together as a family, sharing the excitement, watching the children soak up the experiences
3. listening to the children speaking Spanish and popping out with sentences we never knew they knew
4. eating out at cafes/restaurants for every meal so not having to do dishes! (although it has been nice to cook again too)
5. eating lobster for lunch and dinner each day in Cuba - we may never be able to afford to eat it anywhere else!
6. being warm
Now back to the reality of "we owe, we owe, its off to work we go" (insert Snow White & Seven Dwarfs tune..."hi ho, hi ho, its off to work...)..Rachel is back to work and Sean is now looking for work!
travel safe, be well,
Sean & Rachel Fletcher