Sunday, January 30, 2011

Arrival

The view from my room at Yanayacu.

"Don't worry. A bad beginning is a good ending." - Larry of The Three Stooges, Movie Maniacs, 1936

My trip to Ecuador started with the worst travel day I've ever had. I had developed a slightly sore throat the day before we left, but I figured that was from singing too much while playing Rock Band with my friends. Oh, if I only knew what a forewarning that really was.

I awoke, after a few hours sleep, at 3am to drive to the airport. I traveled with an undergrad from our lab, a week before my advisor was due to join us. First flight went smoothly, I was feeling a bit off, but attributed it to lack of sleep. We landed in Miami for a 5 hour layover. That is when things started going downhill fast. I started feeling chilly, despite my layers. That turned into full on "I am getting sick" chills. Coughing. Stuffy nose. And finally a low grade fever. I was absolutely miserable, for hours, unable to concentrate on a book but unable to fall asleep. I watched CNN on repeat and distracted myself with a few walks around the airport. Finally, it was time for our next flight.

Our take-off was so rough, I felt like we might crash. I was seated next to some students who were off to Ecuador for a whole semester abroad. I wanted to be sociable but I avoided talking to them because I felt so sick and just wanted to sleep. I had taken something for my sinuses earlier, but the fever was coming down swift and strong. I slept only for a little while, the chills were too intense. I had a glimmer of hope as the chills retreated... only to be replaced by nausea. I got the attention of a flight attendant who made up some ice packs for my head and ibuprofin, they were really concerned about me. Oh, did I mention the turbulence? Yeah, there was a lot of it. The descent was horrible, and took a long time. Once we were on the ground, I grabbed the barf bag (and used it - my first time!)

I instantly felt much better. Getting off the plane, I refused the wheelchair and doctor visit the flight attendants had insisted upon. My excitement was premature, as waves of nausea accompanied me through the rest of the night. We got a ride to the research station, which was about three hours of sleeplessness and bumpy roads. By the time we arrived my body had miraculously calmed down. I fawned for a few moments over the giant moths that were attracted to the lights, and promptly passed out.

The photo above is the view I was greeted with when I awoke (though it does not do those mountains justice at all). It was all worth it.

18 comments:

Psi Wavefunction said...

Traveling on a fever is quite the nasty experience, I sympathise with you there! Particularly when it involves sprinting between distant gates on a super tight connection...
(grad school visit + de facto 'interview' on a fever is also unfun: can't make it too obvious that you're rudely spreading diseases, but also can't cancel anything due to all the travel time and money involved...)


Enjoying your non-sick Ecuador posts though! =D

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