Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Where Are We Staying?

Last night at approximately 10:30 pm we finally arrived in Quito. The plane ride was five and a half hours, but it seemed more like ten and a half because we were all exhausted from all of the planning and preparations of the previous weeks. There was a beautiful sunset that we could view from the window on our side of the plane and I had to snap a photo. When we landed in Quito I was actually surprised at how easy it was getting through customs. It was more difficult to leave Houston than to get into Ecuador. The first thing we noticed when we landed was how close some of the houses were to the runway. Our plane was literally just yards from people’s backyards.

The Sunset From Our Window

Once we retrieved our baggage, we headed to the reception area where a driver was waiting to drive us to our hotel. After we had loaded all of our luggage into the driver’s very small SUV, Bob decided to take a picture and went to fish his camera out of his duffel bag only to realize that it wasn’t there. After digging for quite some time he finally figured out he had either left it at Pappadeauxs or on the airplane, we’re just hoping it’s not gone forever. Unfortunately the pictures of the beginning of our trip were on Bob’s camera. What a way to start our trip. 

We survived a harrowing ride to the hotel. The Ecuadorian drivers sure do like their horns and the prefer to drive in the middle of the road, not the lane mind you, but the road. They also like to go really fast, make hard stops and weave in and out of traffic. When they pull up behind another vehicle at a red light, they honk even though the first vehicle can’t move. What’s the point in that? Of course my seatbelt wouldn’t buckle, so I just hung on for dear life. I think by the time we got out of the vehicle our knuckles were white and we all had a few more wrinkles and gray hairs.

Upon driving through some very narrow streets and passing some very run down buildings, of course all the while thinking that we will soon be arriving at the better side of town where our hotel is located the driver pulls up in front of our hotel. O.K. so were not in the best neighborhood, but the hotel looks quaint other than that uniformed security guard standing out front.

 Our Quaint Hostel

At this point we’re just so glad to get to the hotel and as long as it has beds and hot water we don’t care. The driver opens the car doors and we are immediately swarmed by a pack of prostitutes in tight mini skirts, stiletto heals and not much else. Of course as soon as they see Mom and me get out of the car they quickly disperse. All Rod kept saying is “AND WE ARE STAYING WHERE” he really started to sound like a blithering idiot he said it so many times. All the while Mom and I were laughing hysterically (we find humor in the strangest things). A few minutes later as we regain some of our composure and are dragging our luggage across the street, I hear a woman yelling and all of a sudden the ladies of the night are running as best they can in their 6” stilettos and ducking into alleys and doorways as the local police cruise the streets.

Rod and Bob are wondering what Mom and I have gotten them into. Can they possibly book a return flight home tonight? but it’s now midnight and we have no choice but to stick to the original plan. We check into our quaint hotel with the uniformed security guard and the lovely ladies of the night and head to our rooms. The guard helps us carry our baggage up to our rooms as we meander through hallways and stairwells. We finally get situated in our simple, yet clean rooms and immediately realize we have not one bottled water between the four of us (a necessity for brushing teeth). Rod, Mom and I head back down the stairs to ask the receptionist for some bottles of water, but it seems the security guard has turned off all of the hallway lights on his way down and left us in the dark. We feel our way down the stairs flipping switches as we go and finally make it to the desk and purchase our water say our good nights and slump off to bed.

Three Of The Four Flights Of Stairs That We had
To Navigate In The Dark.

By this time I’m so interested in watching the ladies outside that I’m flattening myself against the wall of our balcony, camera in hand waiting for the perfect shot. The police are constantly patrolling the streets and each time they drive by it’s a game of hide and seek. One Hooker in particular that I am watching stays hidden behind a wall and jumps out to wave at the potential customers every time a car drives by and then quickly ducts back behind the wall. It’s quite entertaining and I find it hard to go back to my room and leave this fascinating show.

Hooker Alley (They’re All Hiding)

I finally give in to the thought of sleep and go back into the room to shower and brush my teeth. I immediately stick my toothbrush under the faucet and of course put it in my mouth. What was I thinking? I quickly rinse off the toothbrush with bottled water and then pour mouthwash over it hopefully killing any harmful bacteria. When I get out of the shower I head to my twin bed and lie down only to hear a myriad of car alarms, police sirens, buses zooming by and motorcycles that sound like plane engines taking off. All night long this went on and by 5:00 a.m. the morning traffic started and the trash trucks began making their way down our street dumping the dumpster contents into their trucks and making sure to bang the lid against the bin a couple of times before placing the dumpster back in place.

 We all met up in the restaurant the next morning to compare stories and try to revive ourselves with mass quantities of caffeine. Come to find out Mom and Bob had a party going on in the room next to theirs and had to call security in the wee morning hours to  put a lid on it. We are all bleary eyed and half stupid from lack of sleep, but today is another day and we will see what is in store for us.

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