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GOING HOME.

Or getting ready to return to reality.

What it’s all about!

The time has come the walrus said…..

At last a tan.

Now you might find this an odd choice of topic as I’ve so much more in the way of what I’ve already done and I will do in the next few days before I leave Mexico, but It’s there. Hovering in the back of my mind like a dark foreboding shadow, in my peripheral vision like a willow the wisp. A constant nagging and distracting my attention from all the amazing things I have travelled so far to see..…The time has come to make LISTS!

A storm brewing? Going home can be a bit of a dark cloud!
Glossing over anxiety of sorting return ticket.

…to talk of many things….

Last night sitting on my terrace with a very nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc I sulked, sighed and finally fetched my notebook. It eyed me, I eyed it and we started. I’d booked my tickets to Madrid in Guatemala so I’d forgotten exactly what they entailed, and felt queasy about my seating on the long haul section Bogota/Madrid. I needed a decent seat and my occasional “pretend” looking about booking seats with Avianca had yielded no fruit, and my emails and screenshots were all over the place and must be ignored until I could cope and wasn’t so tired.

….Of shoes -and ships-and sealing wax-and cabbages- and kings….

I had been on my last archaeological site of Teotihuacan yesterday and was exhausted and felt rather burnt and probably had sunstroke. I would just list “Avianca seat” and go on to the less worrying and hard things like “supermarket; wine, bread, eggs, fruit etc” and “Clothes shop; hoody for plane etc” and “Pharmacy; sleepers for plane, nail files and body cream”. Then I would do it all in the morning when I was fresh. I threw my notebook on the table and went back to watching Veep and 30 Rock on my laptop.

Tequila, mummy’s little helper

…And why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings

This morning the stress monster was sitting on my chest. My horror at dealing with this long forgotten ticket booking was now inevitable. I looked through my emails and found my booking and codes and after Herculean tussles with various web sites ascertained that I had actually booked and paid for my preferred seat on the long haul!

THIS LITTLE PIG DID HAVE WINGS!!!

Relief flooded my senses, thinking back on it I remember thinking that I MUST have decent seating but had forgotten in the mists of time. HOOOOOOORAY! Now the rest of my list.

MY forgotten seat reservation. Leg room!!!!! End of aisle!!!!

Housekeeping days while Abroad for the Solo Traveller.

Proper organisation requires a correct mental attitude so a proper ablution required. Next reassessing suitcase and more things to bin in the sacrifice to weight allowance. Some knicker and Tshirt washing and just one more icing of the foot before the supermarket.

Passed a bank on my walk so took out money hopefully for the last time here, then saw a pharmacy and bought some sleeping tabs for the flight. Continued to the big supermarket bought a lovely selection of goodies for a couple of breakfasts and snacks, the other beauty products that I needed and I now am back.I have had my eggies and bacon and English breakfast tea, proud as punch and only lacking buying a cheap hoody for the trip back to Madrid.

A GOODBYE DANCE FOR ME? YOU’RE TOO KIND!

These preparations mean I can now enjoy my last three full days properly. This is what I call a housekeeping day and is crucial when arriving somewhere or leaving and especially for the big return home(though you might have noticed I am stopping in Madrid for a couple of days to ease myself back into Europe).

Last thing on list done! Cosy hoody for plane trips home!

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FITNESS AND THE MATURE SOLO TRAVELLER

OR GETTING IN TRIM FOR MY TRIP

ALERT: I CANNOT BELIEVE I FORGOT TO POST THIS BEFORE LEAVING! IT ALL GOT A BIT (VERY) HECTIC AND THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! FORGIVE ME I’LL HOPEFULLY SORT MYSELF OUT, I’VE BEEN A VERY BAD OLD BIRD.

It’s no good pretending we are as fit as we used to be, and frankly, if you’re going it alone you must get as fit as you can. You obviously should always follow a sensible health regime but hey, we’re not going to be goody gum drops at our age are we? So to rectify the gobbling of heavy meals and the slurping of too much booze and try to get as fit as possible before leaving. For me it’s swimming and the gym and a slightly more sensible diet and dwinky regime.

NO MORE BEER AND PIES REBECCA!
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LIMA DISAPPOINTS.

OR HOW PERU DEMANDS YOU SHOW YOU’LL LEAVE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE!

Shurely not!!

The flight with VivaAir had been cheap and was direct from Medellin but here ended the benefits. A whopping 50 quid was added to my bill for my case and the vile young man with braces and spots simpered about that, then relished telling me that I couldn’t enter Peru without an outbound ticket to another country. The weak WiFi in the airport threatened to make me miss the flight as I desperately tried to book a flight on a random date to bloody Bolivia. I was trying on both my iPad and my phone to see which would be the fastest picking up a signal. Spotty boy smirking made me determined and I managed to book my passage to La Paz AND pay my excess baggage with minutes to spare.

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TRAIN FROM ULAANBAATAR TO BEIJING.

OR, THE INCREDIBLE GOBI DESERT AND THE LAST PART OF MY TRANS SIBERIAN EXPRESS ADVENTURE.

Mongolian boy waving off his family

Again, I had a feeling I was never leaving this bitterly cold and amazing place but as they say, all good things must come to an end. As usual I was up at the crack of dawn to catch my last connection by train to Beijing. Sad to leave but also wildly excited to see the Gobi Desert from the train. On this last train journey I only bought high hopes and windy biscuits for the trip. (I was all done with things meaty or so I thought!)

The Mongolian train cabin.

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ULAANBAATAR CAPITAL OF MONGOLIA.

OR MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MONGOLIA AND IT’S PEOPLE

I only spent four days here but I fell in love with it and it’s people. I arrived at six in the morning and got a cab using some euros I had (you can’t get currency outside) The drive to the central square was about three minutes! The cabby was a ruddy faced lovely chap and I was impressed at how helpful he tried to be with very little English! My hotel, the Khuvsgul Lake Hotel was a sheer delight. A tall building overlooking the square, a brand new no frills place that had frills!

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TRAIN PROTOCOL CROSSING BORDERS.

OR IRKUTSK TO ULAANBAATAR TRAIN JOURNEY

Holiday cabins on the shoreline of the frozen Lake Baikal.

Should have known it was all too jolly. I was welcomed by some people who had stayed on the train since Moscow and were not getting off at all until Beijing- the fools. They all had a twitchy feel to them, like people who’d had too much coffee, and there was a reason. They hadn’t had any external input since Moscow they hadn’t had anyone new come into first-class so hadn’t had any fresh blood since Moscow.

Random pic of me going mad at the Jurassic Coast

They weren’t getting off the train in the near future and they were in that strange state that I had been in when I arrived in Irkutsk… feral and somnambulant. They cross-questioned me on what Lake Baikal and Irkutsk had been like and I told them how amazing it all was and started to explain how cold, cruel and magnificent it was, then I asked them about the diner. With that, they lost interest and scurried off barely answering my questions (they probably no longer equated there was a world outside the poor lost souls) and like a group of junkies wandered glazed eyed up to the diner with cups of tea and grubby UNO cards clutched in their fists like a fix. I followed them but they were fast, when I got there, they were already hunched over their cards at a table playing what I can only presume to be their millionth game since Moscow.

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IRKUTSK AND THE NEXT TRAIN BIT TO ULAANBATAAR.

OR NOT THE PARIS OF SIBERIA. LET’S GET BACK ON THE TRAIN AGAIN:(

I wanted to love Irkutsk, so many times labelled the Paris of Siberia. However I ended up feeling apathetic about it. The cab had been late picking me up from Listvyanka so I was all of a tizz and had made my plans in a shoddy anxious way having expected to have the full day there and seeing it slip away from me.

Weird hotel breakfast obviously for the Chinese tourists and there were a lot! I missed it as I was running for train