Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ecuador


Quito








(Paul picking us up in Manta)

Where do I begin? The last couple of years I had thought of traveling to Ecuador, the Galapagos in particular. So how perfect that Paul just opened a Kitehouse Ecuador and that includes an amazing bamboo house to stay in. I haven't been back to South America in a few years since Paul and I went to Peru and it's a great place to visit. You really unplug.

Landing in Quito was kinda crazy. It's a city encircled by mountains and volcanos so the weather can be a bit dicey sometimes. Someone explained their volcanic evacuation plan to me which kinda sounds like our hurricane one - you just hunker down to see if it'll hit. Um, I'll take hurricane season over molten lava any day.

As the plane began its decent into Quito you couldn't even see the ground it was so cloudy. Right at the moment we were about to land, the plane re-routed and shot straight up in the air like a rocket. Once we got up a bit leveled out and my mind released the image of smashing into a mountain, the pilot calmly informed us that they had closed the Quito airport due to weather right as we were landing. It took a couple tries, landing in a different city and circling till we had 30 minutes left of fuel, but we finally landed.

Now night-time Quito looks a bit like Tijuana - lots of clubs with throbbing music and lights. I did not see a man with a car battery charging tourists to hold hands in a circle and willingly zap themselves with said battery this time though. Daytime Quito is much more chill, has great coffee and nice people who help you find mosquito nets for your bed. The next day we hopped a flight to Manta, a coastal city just a mere 30 minute flight away.

Have you ever gotten called back to get your luggage checked out in South America? Well, I have.

As the plane was boarding,my name got called over the loud speaker and a grim looking man asked me for the key to unlock my checked bags. There was no lock on them so I was a bit confused, my Spanglish clunky and as I tried to explain I got waved to follow a baggage dude with no answers to what was going on. Being silently escorted to the baggage area in South America is a tad unsettling and I had no idea what to expect until I saw a plastic Wal-Mart bag pulled out by a man with severely combed hair and a frown.

Apparently aerosol bug spray does not travel through planes in Ecuador. It does travel out of Miami though. I handed over the bugspray contraband and was free to go board the plane. They do a good job checking things out down there and I still cannot get the image of that man's hair out of my head. I imagined he had a little rake that each morning separated every individual strand of his hair and special gel that was carefully applied to make it stand at attention and point in one direction. It was authoritative hair. I guess if you're going to have someone going through people's things at an airport you'd want them to be very thorough and precise. If I was hiring an employee for that job, I would have hired him on the spot as soon as I saw his head.

The plane took off and even though the flight was a mere 30 minutes long, we got beverage service and a delicious little sandwich. Seriously some of the best coffee I had down there was on that flight. And the best part.... the ticket was $50 dollars. Why do our airlines back home suck? And why, oh why do I have to be subjected to the worst kid movies ever on an international flight. If I wanted to see Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: the Squeakquel in Spanish on my travels, I think it should at least include a free beer.

Paul who had been there a couple weeks before, greeted us at the Manta airport complete with awesome VW van.




2 comments:

  1. I have lived in Quito for over 16 years, I am happy to help with any questions you might have about the country. Patrick- bullock0005@yahoo.com

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  2. Thanks Pat! Quito seemed like a really fun city. I'm looking forward to exploring more of it next time.

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