The trip was supposed to take 16 hours with two stops, first in New York, second in Miami and then “up, up and away” to Guayaquil Ecuador. Well, we experienced some problems in the Miami airport, being grounded there for around 11 hours rather than the 3 hours we were expecting. By the time we finally took off, our appreciation to be heading for Ecuador was definitely heightened. We had a flight time of just over 24 hours!
We had 6 large checked bags and a large and small carry-on bag each – between 400/500 pounds total! Sound like a lot? Well, we had to cram everything we possibly could in, it was our life in those bags! And not one piece was lost.
We stayed overnight in Guayaquil and toured around a bit before taking the flight up to Cuenca in the Andes.
We stayed at the Howard Johnson Hotel in Guayaquil and it felt like home. It was only about 5 minutes from the airport. And bonus, the largest mall in the country “Mall del Sol” was only about a 2 minute walk away. It was huge, very modern and the food court was awesome.
The airport in Guayaquil was really nice and we were very happy to hear that all the announcements were in Spanish and English, because we didn’t speak any Spanish. The plane was also new and clean. We flew up to Cuenca with LAN airlines and had a very good flight.
There were armed guards (with shotguns) at the airport. We had seen them at the airport in Venezuela as well so it wasn’t a big shock to us, but it could be a bit weird if you’re not used to it. A shotgun looks a lot different than a pistol in a pouch. We talked to our daughter about it before hand hoping that she would see them as a help, and not something to be afraid of. But when she saw them the look in her eye was still one of surprise, mixed with a little fear and some “should he really be here with that?” and “is everything ok?” thrown in.
The one thing about the trip that stands out in my mind was that we had to walk through a health scanner in the Guayaquil airport. They were checking for fever due to H1N1, I guess it was nice to know that no one on our flight had it, except for me! Joking! We all got a get out of swine flu free card.
When we were landing in Guayaquil our daughter opened her eyes, looked out the window then back at me and said “the plane still hasn’t taken off?!” It was around 4am at this point. Once we had finally gotten seated on the plane ready for takeoff in Miami her eyes closed and they didn’t open again till we touched down in Ecuador.