Monday, Feb. 4
The most stressful part of travelling for me is getting to the airport, on time, with all my papers in order. We left the house at 4:30 am. I wanted to be gone by 4 but it always takes longer than you think to make sure everything's unplugged and the house is in order. The drive started out fine although traffic was heavier than I expected. While getting gas in Bowmanville the snow squalls hit. Uh oh. Traffic got even heavier and even started to slow down around Pickering. I was starting to sweat. Suddenly the sky cleared, traffic picked up and we were at the car park by 6:30. Nice! I've spent an hour and a half in line for US security before but today it was a breeze. We had a leisurely breakfast and the plane left on time. In Miami everything went great and again, the plane left reasonably on time. I sat with an Ecuadorian man who told me all about his wonderful country and the "must sees".
Quito airport is in the middle of 3 mountains and a very difficult approach for aircraft. My seatmate warned me that they often make several tries so I wasn't surprised when we suddenly started ascending again. After circling several times, a second attempt then sudden climb, the pilot explained we didn't have enough fuel to try again, the fog was making it difficult and we're flying to Guayaquil. My seatmate was obviously trying to remain calm. While fueling he asked the stewardess if he could leave. No, the destination is Quito. No one gets off. He told me "I've done this so many times. It makes me so nervous. The pilot has to be nervous. A flight is only $80 from Guayaquil. If I make a big enough stink, they'll let me off." So off he went to "convince" someone. 20 minutes later he was back for his bag and left.
The pilot explained that another plane was about to land at Quito and if they were successful he was going to try again. How reassuring. Meanwhile, the previously quite well behaved small children in the seats beside and in front of us were beyond tired and crying. Poor parents :( Finally the pilot informed us that "the plane landed so I guess we're going to try it and see what happens". Nice. I must admit that this landing actually made me very nervous. When the wheels touched the ground there was much cheering and clapping (never done on commercial flights) so I guess I wasn't the only one. :)
Security took forever as several planes ended up landing at once. We got a taxi and at the hotel were greeted by a young man who spoke no English. They had no record of our reservation. Lovely. Whatever, they had a room. My visa didn't work. Mike's didn't work. MC didn't work. Good thing we've got cash. It was 2 am by the time my head finally hit the pillow. That was a long day.