I first met Oly almost three months ago, when Chris and I bumped into him, along with his girlfriend Stef, and their crazy friend Sophs, on Lake Titicaca. Well, what do you know: I've bumped into him again, here at the Secret Garden in Quito. Oly's a web designer from England, a guy who likes a beer or two, and (at the moment) a travelling junkie.
Terry's a retired, somewhat chubby, somewhat balding old chap from Florida, who's been down here in Baños for over three weeks. He's a real character: he's teaching English to a (very good-looking) young lady who runs a tour agency in town, and you can see him hanging round her office any time during the day; while you're also guaranteed to see him sitting at the bar, chatting to some random stranger over a large Pilsener beer, if you wander past the Mocambo Bar (the one with the best music in town), any time during the evening. Always ready to strike up a conversation, and apparently here indefinitely.
Another solo traveller, like myself, who's off to see the world for 12 months. Patrick's a master's graduate of Economics and Politics, he's a Belgian, he's an ace soccer player, and he's quite the ladies' man. First met him in Máncora last week, and I'm planning to spend the rest of the week here in Baños with him, going on recreational adventures by day, and on bar-bound adventures by night.
I met Einat yesterday morning, when I first arrived at Sol y Mar, here in Máncora. She's a very unique Israeli, in some ways: she lived in Argentina for three years, during high school (with her family), so she speaks fluent Spanish, and she sounds like an Argentinean; she also travels alone. In other ways, she's not so unique: ultra-tight with money, and happy to travel really raw, to save a few shekalim. She's nice, but her complete and utter indecisiveness, coupled with her stinginess, made it hard to put up with her for more than a day or two.
Christian is a Belgian guy, and part of the (largely) French group that I bumped into yesterday afternoon. As I was hiking with this group all of this morning, and as Christian was the only one in the group to speak decent English, I ended up talking to him a fair bit. Really nice guy, just down here for a few weeks, for his summer vacation. Yay: more Belgians!
Chris and I met Sharon at the end of last week, in Huacachina, where she was chilling out with the rest of us. She followed us to Lima, and she's been hanging out with us this past weekend. She's a London girl, of Filipino descent, who enjoys splurging on some cheap Peruvian clothes shopping, and who is never hungry when it's meal-time. Very laid-back, and a bit indecisive, but good fun.
Troy's been hanging out at Casa de Arena, the resort / hostel in Huacachina, even longer than us. Apart from being completely stoned, he's also a funny and a somewhat unbelievable guy. He's been travelling through Central and South America for 15 months, and he hasn't got a ticket back home to Oz. He spent a year backpacking in the Middle East, through countries like Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. And his facial hair is serious enough to even compete with mine. Total tripper.
Leila is a blonde-haired young girl from Basil, Switzerland; and Christina is her high-school friend from southern Germany. These two girls were in our tour group, for our three-day tour of the Salar de Uyuni; and we then kept travelling with them for a few days, until Iquique in Chile. They're great fun; they're rougher than they look; and speaking of which, they don't look too bad at all.
Marie is a travel agent from Paris in her early 30s, and Anna is a primary school teacher from Brittany in her mid-20s. After Pascale (and her friend) in Copa and La Paz, it seems that Chris and I just can't keep away from pairs of French girls. These ones don't smoke quite as much as the others, although they still do a lot. Went to the pampas with them, and ended up doing a jungle tour with them as well.