Upon leaving North American air space the trip to Ecuador improved. Compared to flying in North America, paranoid over done security to poor airline service, flying on LAN (Ecuadorian airline) was a pleasure. From comfortable seats, very helpful staff to alcohol at no charge, what a difference from the ‘modern’ western world.
After the usual wait for luggage to ride the carousel, the remaining portion of the airport exit was quite a breeze. Again, not like walking the gauntlet of repetitive security checks through more and more ‘power-trippers’ with a badge.
Observation: While in the Miami Airport, no less then 5 different law enforcement agencies patrolled the airport by foot, bicycle or golf cart. All of who would be more useful if they were Personal Trainers.
Thanks to our contact from Airbnb.com, a representative from a local shuttle service was waiting for us. All smiles, this Ecuadorian young fellow and two Canadians chatted back and forth in broken english and broken spanish while heading to their ride.
The next pleasant surprise, the shuttle service provided bottled water and some local cracker-type snacks. When have you ever been provided that type of small but wonderful gesture by a North American shuttle service?Having arrived at almost 11:00pm, there was no chance to get a look around. As a positive, however, the streets of Quito were quite bare. Being new visitors to Quito and not prepared for the driving style of the locals, the less cars the better. Lanes, speed limits and the general structure found on Western streets are mere suggestions. Sure, this driving style was unnerving at first, when compared to the slow moving traffic of Canada. But once exposed to the flow and personality of this motorized dance, you notice how efficient the system is. (stayed tuned for upcoming post on traffic and pedestrians)
Opting not to use a hotel for accommodations, instead making use of Airbnb to book our lodgings for a more local feel. Based on price and locations, Airbnb provided a large variety and a chance to stay away from tourist traps and over priced areas. Airbnb enables a a personalized experience, in that a customer can ask more question, read feedback and even choose from Vendors who offer the extras, such as local info and hints on getting around.
Surviving the introduction to Quito-rules driving, the shuttle landed at the door steps of the condo unit. Waiting for us was a representative of the person renting the unit.
To read more about Detour: Ecuador be sure to follow this blog or search for Detour: Ecuador.
a glass of scotch