Quito, Here I come!
Trip Start Jan 19, 2012
16Trip End Feb 03, 2012
Step 1: get to SFO hotel.
Pickup at 6pm by shuttle van..perfect. Trip to SFO via Oakland Chinatown and very very clogged bay bridge. Trials and tribulations of living in San Leandro.
Drop off SFO 1.5 hrs later. 5 min wait for hotel shuttle. Sandwich from Max's for dinner. Into bed for very short night.
Step 2: get to Miami.
Wake up call and alarm go off almost simultaneous at 3am. Quick shower...anything left behind? Ready at 3:30 am for hotel shuttle back to SFO which arrives at exactly 4:07. Some delay at baggage check in...some folks with several very big bags. Only minutes for me. Security relatively fast too. Pickup yogurt granola parfait and water. At the gate before 5:00, ready for 6:00 flight. Long process to board... Lot of carry on being stowed away. I'm in 13C, but bag in row 30. So, I'll have to wait until everyone's off before I can retrieve it. Pilot says we're arriving early which may give me more time to grab the bag and get to the next flight. We leave exactly on time.
Step 3: get to Quito.
Arrive 15 mins early in MIA. Need to get to D43 from D5. Find the skytrain and make it there by 2:15. Boarding still not started. Find a couple Road Scholars with their red luggage tags in the boarding line. Fall asleep for a bit after dinner. Arrive in Quito about 7 pm local time which is same as east coast. That's 12 hours en-route.
Emigration and customs take short while. They could use a larger baggage claim area, but happy to see my bag arrive. I meet a group of young folks waiting in line. They have peace corps badges on; just arriving in country for training. We chat about my training experience compared to theirs. Wished them luck!
Our guide meets us outside customs with a big red Road Scholar sign. 6 in total, plus some that arrived earlier and two more arriving later. Total count: 13. That's a good number- not too big not too small. Could be good luck.
Our guide is Gonzalo Gavilanes and our driver is Eduardo. Gonzalo's advice for tonight: drink plenty of water and rest. We're over 9000 ft altitude and there's potential for altitude sickness. Rest is fine by me!
Short ride to the Sheraton. Very nice! Wifi in room, currency is US dollar, and electric current and plugs same as US. Gotta love this Ecuador place!
End of step 3. Tour starts tomorrow morning. Taking it easy tonight. Good night!