It’s September 19, which means in exactly one month I will be leaving for South America to being my Pacific GEOTRACES journey. The science team will meet the ship (R/V Thompson) in Seattle, Washington during the first week of October to load gear and set up labs. The Thompson will then make its way to Manta, Ecuador to pick up the team on October 25. We use a lot of complicated looking electronics and hazardous chemicals, so loading the ship in the United States is both cheaper and logistically smoother as customs and border agents are not involved. I will be staying in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, for a few days prior to the cruise to do some exploring and hike Volcano Corazon. I finalized my travel plans last night and learned three important lessons:
- If the structure of your first name is a little bit deceiving (98% of the world thinks my name is pronounced Cat-Lynn…but really it’s Kate-Lynn), then you will be asked multiple times to confirm the correct spelling, possibly with the assistance of military-style phonetics, “K as in kilo, A as in alpha…”
- If you make purchases through an adventure tour company in Quito, Ecuador without first notifying your bank, you will immediately be bombarded with phone calls, text messages, and emails that say “FRAUD!!!!”
- If you plan to hike a volcano in South America you will need travelers insurance. For $8.92 you can be covered for up to $500,000 in medical evacuation fees, now that’s a deal.
Time to brush up on my Spanish and start packing!