Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Waiting, Traveling Home

Waiting in airports, waiting for any form of transportation, waiting is part of the Ecuadorian experience. We are told to arrive at the airport three hours early, which we almost did. Sometimes the time is absolutely necessary and the lines long and frustrating, but today we breezed through and the saving grace is free internet in the waiting area. This time our flight is not delayed, at least not so far. I am working hard not to buy anything. There are several wonderful souvenir shops lined up almost like a gauntlet as we wind through the hallways to our gate. I remind myself that I have bought so much from Ecuador and that whatever I buy I will have to pack up or bring right back to Quito. The reality of actually living here is hitting me. I left most of my jungle clothes at Erika's house, knowing that I will not be going to the jungle anywhere but in Ecuador and it made no sense to bring the clothes home to Baltimore and then back to my new home in Quito. I left my leather jacket as well. Eric left his Ecuador books. We have started our household in Quito. The move is more tangible, more real.

I finally had time on the plane to read my book about Fitzroy, the captain of the Beagle when Darwin took his five year trip to South America and the Galapagos Islands. The focus was on Fitzroy, but the book never really offered an understanding of the man and his motivations. He was a tragic figure, completely overshadowed by Darwin and Darwin's later publications and theories. The interesting part of the book was Fitzroy's interest in the indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego. Fitzroy captured three natives and brought them to England where he had them educated, hoping to return them to their home cultured and British. He was successful in his efforts to teach them about western ways, but when they returned to their home over a year later, they quickly reverted to their more primitive ways. Fitzroy was desperately disappointed in his 'experiment'. Unfortunately, in time more and more westerners came to settle in the area and the Fuegians succumbed to disease and ultimately disappeared and became extinct.

Fitzroy was successful in his efforts to map the coast of South America and came back to England a hero, but never found himself once he came home. He was entirely eclipsed by Darwin and his discoveries and theories. In the end Fitzroy suicided but cutting his throat with a razor. The book alludes to a family history of insanity, and Fitzroy was described by Darwin to have a terrible temper and to have had bouts of despair. I presume he had a depressive illness. Interestingly, the captain of the Beagle who Fitzroy had replaced had killed himself on the Beagle in Tierra del Fuego. Morbid.

Fitzroy was horrified by Darwin's conclusions. He became more and more religious and was unsuccessful in his efforts to counter the views of Darwin and like minded scientists. Fitzroy became and was more and more irrelevant.

I should have slept on the plane. Our layover in Miami is an endless six hours. We have walked the length of the airport looking for edible food without success. I will remember next time to leave the airport and visit South Beach, where there are wonderful restaurant choices.

Our move to Ecuador is imminent. I feel panicky when I contemplate the list of tasks to accomplish in a few short months. We must prepare our house for sale and sell it (ha!), I must terminate with my patients and find new therapists and psychiatrists for all (daunting), we must get our visas, prepare our children, pack our lives into a few suitcases, find a place to live, choose a school for Maya...the list is long.

1 comment:

  1. You will love Ecuador because Is such a diverse and peaceful country. The weather, the colonial cities and the people are just fantastic. Nothing compares to the landscapes of the Highlands, the lush of the Amazon Jungle Forest, the exotic Beaches of the Coast and the mystery of the Galapagos Islands.