Nicolas reporting from Ecuador: after visiting the colonial district of Quito and taking their first acclimatization hike Ruco Pichincha (4,698m/15,413ft), the Team is now at Papallacta resting and enjoying a nice time together.

Hi there. First of all the trip’s going quite well. Luckily everyone seems to get along quite well. Obviously the first day everyone was tired, but we luckily were able to acclimatize ourselves quite quickly to the conditions, not only the weather conditions, but also the high altitude where Quito’s based.

We spent the first day just sort of visiting the town, the colonial part of town and the Jesuit churches that are there were really breathtaking. Most importantly we managed to visit parts of Quito and South America that were very unique to Ecuador, that’s mainly what we were there for. Then we did an inventory check, which was for me quite an experience, because I was missing lots of stuff, but luckily no one else was missing anything. Especially Peter, so if Peter’s family’s listening in, you know he wasn’t missing anything. If Terrence’s kids are listening in as well, he’s got/he’s doing well. And everybody else is doing well past me. So Mum and Dad sorry if you’re listening in to this, but ah yeah. (cough)

Then we woke up really early the next day on the 27th of January. We went on a quick bus ride towards the gondolas and we had a hike in some clouds essentially, which was pretty good. Everyone seems to be adjusting well with the conditions. We climbed till 4,500 meters today (which is about 14,000 feet if you’re American or you know, Imperial). So that was quite good. I suppose the weather conditions were pretty erratic. “Erratic” I guess is the word that I would use, variable, variable as well. You know sometimes we’d be in the clouds, then it would be cold. So we’d have to stop, stop, change, then we’d get hot again, we’d have to change again, so you know, I guess that’s the downside to mountaineering, constant, forever-changing conditions; you have to adapt to them.

Then something real interesting happened as well on the way down. The Brazilian TV people came over and wanted to talk to us because you know, we’re hot, sexy, attractive men, especially our Guide Jose Luis. They really wanted to talk to him; they were really interested in what he had to say. I don’t know why because you know, I don’t know the Brazilians. (laughter in background) So it’s the loveliest thing I got, lovely. So Mom and Dad, tune in to Brazilian TV, you’ll be able to see me hopefully in a week or two.

And then we rode on a bus trip to Papallacta, which was interesting, to say the least. We weren’t banished at all. I say that with the strongest sense of irony. We were stuck behind a huge Petrol tanker for the best part of forty minutes. But it’s okay, we’re all alive now you know hopefully. And it’s an experience, it’s an experience.

Right now we’re in hot springs resort, which is a treat. You know, I didn’t know this would be so comfortable. And yeah, everyone’s really enjoying ourselves and you can tell that with the ambiance at dinner and with all the banter that’s flying around. So relatives of the group that’s climbing here, friends, family don’t you worry, everyone’s doing really great. So yeah, talk to you soon. Goodbye.

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