One of the the things that continually amazes us is the generosity of the people we meet and the global connections we are making on this trip.
Cristian is a VW guy we ‘met’ online, and he offered up his family’s garage for our bus while we return to Texas for the holidays. Not only that, but he and his mother met us downtown, took us back to their house outside of Quito and even made us homemade empanadas. Awesome! Thanks Cristian!
Unfortunately, I forgot the camera, so no photos.
The next morning, we carried a sleeping Bode to the taxi at 4 am. Despite being half-asleep, we did not fall for the plastic-wrap scam at the airport. Guys approach you with an official security-type looking uniform and tell you you need to have your bags wrapped. Sometimes in Spanish an sometimes not. Some of the weary travelers around us gave in and assumed it was required… and ended up paying $10 USD for each bag!
The next ‘scam’ is a required one, though. An “airport tax” of $40 USD per passenger. They are building a new airport north of here and apparently we are helping to pay for it.
We had no problems in Customs or Security on the way out. In fact, we didn’t even have to take off our shoes or remove the laptop from our bag. We passed at least 6 gates on the way to ours, all normal. Then, we get to our gate – a direct flight to Houston, TX. Here is where the security is concentrated, and they go every person’s carry on bags. Once you are allowed into the gate, they take your boarding pass if you want to leave to go the bathroom. Upon re-entry (with no bags), I got the full pat-down.
We got to see Volcan Cotopaxi on the way up – we’ll see it up close when we return. After, a 5.5 hour flight,we were back in the good ‘ole U.S of A
Going through customs, the security guy asked us how long we were outside of the U.S. We guessed “9 months” and after looking us over he replied “That’s what I thought.” We’re still wondering what it was about us that tipped him off.
We’re glad to be home for the holidays and were greeted by some happy grandparents.