Thank god for prescription drugs!
Trip Start May 01, 2010
90Trip End Apr 30, 2011
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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!