For about the first week in Ecaudor Claire and I were both dying from jet lag and a bit of altitude sicknes; average bedtime was about 9pm. Just aswell really seeing as it apparently wasn´t safe to walk the streets of Quito after 8 in the evening. We have been in some dodgy places, but the threats of South America take some getting used to. For example, we left Quito after a few days and headed out to Puerto Lopez by plane we got a taxi from the airport. Th taxi driver when slowing down at traffic lights in a quiet town noticably put the central locking on. When we arrived at our hotel we were greeted a smiling man sat at a gate with a huge shotgun and our next welcomers were some of the biggest dogs we have ever seen. We also noticed in two hotels we stayed in that the lovely hotel owners in Puerto Lopez have habit of using Cactus and rose bushes as a natural barb wire, how reassuring!
The second hotel we stayed at in Puerto Lopez appeared to be lacking an armed guard and our hotel manager assured us that walking around at night was safe because ¨"there is no crime here in Puerto Lopez". The lies propagated in the tourist industry never cease to amaze. So on our first night in this quiet hotel by the beach we are woken by somebody walking up our graden path and loitering outside our window. Only days before I had read about a western tourist getting murdered in Quito when she disturbed a burglar,so this was clearly not good. We decided that disturbing the burglar was a good idea and did this by turning on all the lights. Then it went quiet, and we looked out of all the windows and saw nothing. So we turned the lights back off and laid in bed fearing for our lives. I got up to have a final check outside the room I looked through the window and saw the silhouette of a hooded figure by the hotel gate, the figure looked frozen like he was trying not to be seen. I turned around and waved Claire over to come and look and as I turned around the figure had dissapeared! I am now feeling like a character off the movie Scream; when and where will this figure appear next? Surely it is an armed man and we are going to die, we are fuc ked!! So we decdie to take turns at keeping watch at sleeping. I start the first nightwatch shift, it is now 5am.
I am sat bolt upright staring out the window while Claire sleeps. It is now nearly 6am and my shift is nearly finished and I will be waking Claire soon. It starts to get light at the hotel and the first of the breakfast staff arrives. I hope he is not going to die at the hands of the man with the gun. Then a man strolls out of the hotel reception, he has a bloody big gun gun! They shake hands and pleasantries. The man with the gun and a hooded jacket appears to be finishing his shift and makes his way home. I go back to bed feeling grateful for the presence of the man with the gun.