I have always been an obsessive, compulsive individual and go out of my way to avoid germs and unhealthy actions. I am one of the few that takes an anti-bacterial wipe and cleans my grocery basket. In addition I take my hand towel and open the restroom door, when out in public. If I shake hands with someone, I immediately wash my hands. The sad thing is that a couple of my sons have inherited this phobia and I apologize in advance, for your similarities with Howie Mandel, inherited from your old man. It will be a daily battle!
I say this because I have eleven days left before Omar and I hop a plane to Ecuador, for my first visit and deep in my heart I know that I will overlook something important. An item that is necessary in my daily life (My wife has to remind me nightly to take my heart medications--Who will do this when I am away for 8 weeks, with no phone to set up a reminder). Maybe the new Laptop I ordered this past week that will become my tool of trade, will have an Outlook calendar of some kind, that will aid me. I am obsessing on virtually all aspects of the trip and it is driving me stark raving mad (no comments from the peanut gallery or senioritis arrows).
I can only take two items on board the plane, so it has to be my Bi-Pap machine (Yes, if you weren't aware I have Sleep Apnea--A very debilitating disease that millions of Americans will not fess up to, from a vanity point of view. "I will not wear that damned mask, if it kills me!"--Well I have news for you, it will!). I read an article in the newspaper recently, about an 18 wheel truck driver that weighed 300 plus lbs, fell asleep at the wheel, in the middle of the day and ran over a small car that was stopped on the Interstate as a result of traffic, killing the woman's husband, all because he didn't want to wear the mask.
My cardiologist stated emphatically, that my heart attack was a result of the Sleep Apnea not being diagnosed ahead of time, even though I have a family history of the disease. Please, if you fall asleep during the day (especially while driving), wake at night choking because of loss of oxygen, or snore like a wild banji, you need to be tested. I have suggested testing to 21 individuals that described their symptoms and everyone discovered they had Sleep Apnea. So....I am batting 1.000!
The second carry on will be my laptop and the plethora of pharmaceuticals I take daily for my heart, allergies, etc. They are my lifeline. Obviously, I will need my passport and cash, as it is advised to use credit cards sparingly in third world countries. I have gone back in time and ordered a Swiss Gear backpack (same company that makes the Swiss Army knife, so you know it will be of high quality and can take a beating).
My itinerary is set. Omar and I are leaving at 11:15 AM from Austin, on October 7th and will spend the first night in Guayaquil. Our original destination is Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador, with a population of around 400,000. It was the cultural center of Ecuador during the Incan empire and still has many museums and artifacts from that era, along with various other architecture from centuries back. We are staying in the center of the old town, in a boutique hotel (I think the house is over 100 years old) and looking for a condo for Omar, along with establishing whether I can survive at 8,500 ft. above sea level. My cardiologist told me it would take 3 days to become acclimated. So..we will see.
From there we are driving (Omar is a brave soul and has rented a car for us to travel in) to the next destination Salinas (Santa Elena--as there are two Salinas cities in Ecuador <Don't ask me>). This is the samll beach town that I want to purchase a home or condo, depending on amenities and whether Kim (my wife for those uniformed) can survive without a little dirt to play in. She is an avid gardener. We have a 3/2 condo reserved, on the beach, with a gym, pool and 24 hour guard. It will suffice for the family, intending to visit and explore Ecuador with us.
My Brother-in-Law Terry, who desparately needs to get away from Missouri (he is the one, along with my Sister-in-Law Kelli, that lost their son Dylan Thomas Reid, in Iraq last October). I will do my damnest to see that I take his mind off their tragedy. He is arriving around November 5th, possibly with another son. So...I will be on my own for a couple of weeks, as Omar is leaving the 18th. Kind of a nice test to see how I do on my own!
Kim and her Mother Marcey (and possibly Kim's sister Tracy) are joining us around November 20th and we will all leave Salinas on November 28th and spend the last night in Guayaquil, as we do not want to take any chances and miss our departure flight the morning of November 30th. Hopefully we will take several sidetrips to the Crucita Beach/Manta area, Puerto Lopez, Guayaquil and maybe back to Cuenca so that they can get a taste of the various sections of Ecudaor.
In addition, hopefully I can make a trip to Mindo and meet Dr. Jane Lyons (PHD from UT--and a great source of information on Ecuador). She has provided a substantial amount of advice and I thank her for her contributions. She heads a bird tour/ecological organization and leads bird tours of Ecuador, Chile, Peru, Brazil and Columbia. Ecuador has a bird population that can be placed against any other country in the world and she is an expert! If you get to Ecuador and have the time I highly recommend her tours.
I plan on writing many blogs as we traverse this wonderful country and embark on the next segment of my rapidly aging life. I hope I find what I am looking for in Salinas and I can start writing, as I have long desired. One of my high school Facebook (Pattie) friends stated "Don't you ever lose track of where you are from" (Texas). I will not, but I am starting a new segment of my life and as I have lived from 75% to 80% of it already, I want this portion to be stress free, I want my lovely wife Kim by my side and I will live by my mantra's, regardless. I will spend my time left on this earth in a fashion that appeals to me and more than anything I want to sit by the sea and write! Wish ya'll could be there to live it with us!