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Uneventful is a word often used for our long journeys to and from cactus habitats. Unlike my journey to Bolivia, which was anything but uneventful, the journey home was. All flights were full, so no opportunity for Wiebe and myself to stretch ourselves over two seats, unlike John who left a few hours after us.

Apparently, Brian was asked by the hotel if his son (i.e. John, also 60+) would be moving out soon as well. That will be one that we’ll rub in a few times during Brian’s planned 2012 visit to the UK.

So, in summary, Wiebe and I were on the same flight from Santa Cruz to Sao Paulo and we sat through the 6 hours stop over together – the time in Sao Paulo was put to good use, cutting & pasting the GPS coordinates from the metadata of images  into my data base, from where, next week, I’ll copy them into Google Earth. There they will join location data from other sources and so could help (or confuse?) the identification of some of the cacti that we saw.

We were on the same flight from Sao Paulo to Madrid but were seated some 12 rows apart. The flight was slightly delayed, squeezing the already tight transfer times at Madrid. Wiebe made his next flight to Amsterdam – Schiphol, but his checked-in luggage missed that flight and was promised to be delivered to his home the next day. I had 20 minutes more time for my transfer so both I and luggage arrived together. My flight touched down at 15:15 at Heathrow, my bag was the 10th on the belt and I walked out to meet Angie at 15:45, now that is a record (for me). The new Alpaca jumper bought at Santa Cruz Airport (temperature about 32 C I guess) came in very useful at Heathrow (temp about 6 C I guess).

I got home at 17:30, ready to empy my dirty washing into the machine and pack with more appropriate winter clothing as tomorrow morning, at 3:30, we’ll get up to drive to Dover to catch the 8 a.m. ferry to Duinkerken and from there, head to Cologne for a one week break at Angie’s parents in Cologne. Just as the last few days in Bolivia, there is no internet connection at their home, so I’ll start updating and completing the past Diary pages whenI get back on 11 December.

John also arrived home safely and is already plotting his next Bolivia trip, sometime in 2012. Thanks to all fellow travellers, but particularly to John, for showing me great locations and plants as well as some of the more interesting features of Bolivia. I look forward to coming back in 2021 to confirm progress has been made with the ambituous road building projects. I’ll expect ice cream parlours along the roadside, say every 100 km or at strategic vistas and cactus hotspots!

As a further post script, John reports that three hours after we left Sucre on Monday morning, a full blockade was imposed by lorry drivers and was not lifted until midday Wednesday, so we were lucky to get the last few days of the trip in and to get to our flight home on Thursday morning.

The next Cactus Trip is planned for April 2012 when we plan to spend three weeks travelling around the south western USA in search for Pediocactus in flower.

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