Tuesday, January 31st 2006

Early the next morning I packed up, said goodbye to Dave who was travelling on for a few more weeks, and headed for the airport. The last surprise of the trip was waiting for me - my flight to Miami would be twelve hours late. I was so psyched up for going home that this was a huge disappointment. I re-arranged my connecting flight from Miami to London, checked in my backpack, and trudged out of the airport, wondering how to kill 12 hours. I ended up spending a couple of them stood at the end of the runway, outside the perimeter fence but still spectacularly, perilously close to the jets taking off and landing. Standing about twenty metres behind a large plane taking off is something I highly recommend - I don't know what I expected but I didn't expect to have to hold onto the fence to stop myself being blown into the road.

After that entertainment, I walked a couple of miles from the airport to the nearest Trolé stop, and headed back into the city. I found an internet cafe, sent messages to my family telling them I'd be 24 hours later than planned, wasted time looking around shops and generally wishing I was already on the way home. In the evening I headed back to the airport, bought a ridiculously strong coffee and a delicious greasy churro, before getting my Ecuadorean exit stamp, boarding the plane and heading off into the night. We landed in Miami at about midnight, and then I had 18 hours to kill until my plane to London. American Airlines didn't remotely offer to accommodate anyone so I won't be flying with them again in a hurry. I spent a few uncomfortable hours dozing on a bench, then got a bus to the city centre. I sat in a park overlooking Biscayne Bay and pondered.

Finally, it was time to go. I left Miami, caught the flight to London, and on a cold February morning I found myself at Heathrow, unemployed and homeless. This had been the trip of a lifetime, but it was great to be back.

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