Thank god for prescription drugs!

Trip Start May 01, 2010
1
24
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Trip End Apr 30, 2011


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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, July 2, 2010

We have finally arrived in Quito, Ecuador after a nightmare journey. On the morning of our departure, the alarm went off at 4am after a night of little if any sleep due to the traffic noise outside and then some woman on our floor shouting her head off in the middle of the night! Although we were travelling to Quito, a restriction on our round-the-world ticket meant we had to back-track on ourselves and go via Miami. The first flight was fine and we arrived in Miami on time. With some hours to kill, we grabbed a cab to take us downtown to a camera shop to buy a replacement compact camera for the one that got stolen. We couldn’t find this camera anywhere in the whole of Panama, even the capital Panama City.  Tom had already contacted the shop in Miami so they had one waiting for us. On our return journey to the airport, we decided to try to save some money by catching a bus. This involved getting two separate buses but the driver didn’t inform us that each journey would take about an hour, stopping every few hundred metres. He was also supposed to let us know where to get off to catch the next bus but forgot so we ended up going miles out of the way. By this point we were running out of time, so we decided to flag down another taxi which took us straight to the airport and ended up costing the same amount as the previous one! Still, we got to experience the suburbs of Miami and some crazy looking characters on the bus.

We boarded the next flight to Quito and were just about ready to go when the pilot informed us that there was a minor fault that needed attention. Twenty minutes later this had turned into a problem with the hydraulic system that required a new part which should take about an hour to fit. We disembarked the plane and the one hour became three hours. We were then told that we needed to change planes so we trudged over to a different gate and boarded another plane. Soon we were in the air and all was well apart from the fact that I was sat next to a very loud American teenager who proceeded to yak non-stop to her friend about how High School Musical is her favourite film in the whole world and used the word ‘like’ in every single sentence!

We began our descent into Quito, relieved that our journey was coming to an end. However, when we were probably only about 500 metres above the ground, we flew into some very low cloud/fog and the plane’s engines suddenly roared into life and we started to climb steeply. This was somewhat alarming especially as it took a while for the pilot to let us know what was happening. He explained that the low cloud meant it wasn’t safe enough to land and that we were going to fly around and try again. As we made our second approach, all was looking good until we flew into the same cloud again and the pilot aborted the landing a second time. Thank god for valium is all I can say! We then flew in circles for about twenty minutes before the pilot told us that the clouds had not cleared and we were going to have to divert to Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second largest city on the coast. Thirty minutes later we were on the ground and by now it was the early hours of the next day and we were exhausted.

We got off the plane and waited for our luggage for over an hour before being told that we couldn’t have our luggage until the next day. We then had to queue for ages to collect a hotel voucher and then waited for another hour outside the terminal for the shuttle bus to the Hotel Oro Verde, getting increasingly frustrated as more and more Hilton buses kept arriving and taking virtually the entire plane except a group of about 20 of us who were placed in the increasingly annoying hotel Oro Verde! By 3am we arrived at the 5 star hotel and were soon tucked up in a very comfortable bed.

The next morning, we took advantage of the free hotel breakfast and sampled all that was on offer! Fuelled up, we returned to the airport and boarded our plane again. The flight to Quito only took about 30 minutes. Through gaps in the cloud we could see Quito spread out along the valley floor, surrounded on all sides by mountains. At 2850 metres, Quito is one of the highest cities in the world. We had pre-arranged a transfer to Casa Kenela, our lodgings for the night, so were soon crawling along the congested roads past buses spewing out black smoke to our final destination. We were pleased to find that Casa Kenela is situated in a quiet, leafy lane away from the busy thoroughfares. After our long journey we decided to splurge a little and had dinner in a restaurant called Achiote that serves posh Ecuadorian food. It was absolutely delicious. We had a white corn dish, ceviche in passionfruit sauce and skewered fish to start followed by a pumpkin and sweet potato dish for my main while Tom had chicken and guinea-pig rolls!  Even the rice was amazing, chocolate and coffee flavour!

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Comments

Diddle Dom on

Hello again - you remember my sis & husband were in Quito for 6 months for their honeymoon, wishing you as pleasant memories as they still have.

Just a side note; when back in UK on way back down from York, I had an infuriating twentysomething behind me saying "just like3 for every phrase - in the end told her "be quiet" (though slightly stronger if I remember my words!!) - it all adds to the entertainment in public transport and I like that!!

Keep safe and keep smiling :-) x

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