Homeward bound

South America 2005

05:46, Lima

Suzie and I have just parted for the first time in five weeks: as she jets of to Cuba to meet Scott I am taking a meandering route home. Having been with Suzie for all that time — and for much of it with at least one other person — the hum of the air conditioning unit seems overwhelming. The surrounding empty seats mock me. A connection that has held strong for five weeks has been severed. We spent the last forty-eight hours almost without sleep, in unspoken acknowledgement that an incredible journey was ending. Now, it has ended.

Suzie and I have visited places and done things I only dreamt of; not once did I imagine I would actually visit these places and do these things. Suzie gave me that chance. Our friendship has grown ever stronger and closer, but now she has gone. Suzie will be sorely missed. Have the (second) best of times in Cuba Suzie and Scott.

15:25, Miami

I’m sitting on a plane at Miami airport waiting for it to take me somewhere I don’t want to be. I have no wish to be in America, no wish to be heading back to Britain. South America’s where I want to be but every moment I’m getting further away from my beloved continent. I am in deep depression brought on by having to spend time doing things I don’t want to do. The only thing that is going to make me happy is seeing Mum, Dad, and Sarah, but that’s still twelve hours away at least. I hate this; why am I not in Peru, or Chile, or Argentina, or Uruguay? I know this could be perceived as a middle-class sulk but I’m in the mood to indulge my misery.

19:15, New York

I sit in New York’s JFK airport, now a mere eight hours from seeing my family. I’m in less of a mood now I’m only one flight from home — although all the above still applies.

I’ve got so used to seeing adverts and signs and overhearing conversations in Spanish that I’m disappointed they’ve stopped now; it was a great way to learn the language. Miami was full of Spanish-speakers I could eavesdrop on but while I’m waiting here there are only other English-speakers and a rowdy bunch of Japanese.

Having been in the same clothes now for at least four days (and the last fifty-five hours solid) I’m really, really starting to smell! I pity the person who has to sit next to me for seven hours on the plane. It’ll be an unpleasant surprise for my parents too.