Today is Saturday and currently I am slowly taking in the flavors of a warm coffee beverage in the Quito International Airport. The weather outside is charmingly sunny with scattered dots of white clouds freckling around the Ecuadorian horizon. In exactly one hour I will pick up my personal sized backpack, an item that has been my companion for many months now, stroll towards a brightly illuminated departure gate, and board a plane destined for Bogota, Colombia.
I'm sipping my drink as slowly as possible because it is the last item I will purchase during my duration in Ecuador. Once this miniature paper cup filled with refreshingly smooth espresso and water is entirely consumed I will have completed the very final cycle of experiences that have taken place in this wonderful country. Glaring into the soul of this drink I notice that the beverage's tint shares the appearance of how it feels to leave Quito and all of the fantastic people who I have been fortunate enough to encounter here: Dark. However at the same time the taste that remains in my mouth after every gradual sip reminds me of how it felt to have lived, gotten lost, and been rediscovered here: Simply fantastic. I want this drink to stay in my hand forever but like all things there has to be an end where there once was a beginning.
Between sharing beers, shopping for pants, watching movies, dancing, and a lot of laughing the short yet sweet second duration of stay here in Quito was a very satisfying close to a special chapter in my trip. Limitless memories and scattered remnants of a wide variety of experiences will forever be engrained within the concrete foundations of this Ecuadorian city but more importantly they will remain something that keeps me smiling for the rest of my life. Some of the most interesting, hilarious, and sincere people whom I have ever met were encountered during my time here and to have an opportunity to see some of them again was truly a blessing. It's hard to bid farewell to such great people but inside I know that we will meet again somewhere else in the world and that our friendships will continue in one form or another.
Once in Bogota I will try to meet a handful of other close friends who were met during the infant stages of this seven month journey and to be with them again will be amazing yet deeply surreal. The concept of returning is like a heavy case of Deja-Vu because the Colombian capital city was the very first destination visited in what feels like generations ago however at the same time revisiting the original set now faded footprints of this lengthy tale of wanderings will feel like proper closure to a relationship that is nearing its timely climax. In seventy-two hours a final kiss to South America will send me packing on one last flight to the United States and soon afterwards the echoes of "goodbye" will be replaced with "hello" because there will be highly anticipated and needed reunions between loved ones back home.
As I type the final words of this blog post I realize that the cup once filled with coffee is now completely empty and that it's original contents are now a facet of my recollections. Having finished this warm serving of brew I take one final glance at the relic that remains in the palm of my hand to question whether buying it was a good decision. Was the flavor what I had hoped for? Should I have ordered a Cappuccino instead? Should I have added some milk and sugar? Placing it with love inside a nearby waste disposal bin I realize I'm kidding myself. It was the best damn cup of coffee I've ever tasted.