A Wonderful Whirlwind Trip to Quito!!!
We had to take care of some paperwork this week, and Quito was the only place to do it...
So, we grabbed up our paperwork, Coquita, some chicken sandwiches, cokes, wine and chips, and some long pants and jackets...and off we went!
Now, President Correa has done a miraculous job of building a highway system all over Ecuador that is just amazing. In just three short years, he has connected all the cities and a lot of towns with first class cement and asphalt highways, where there used to be old re-re-paired crappy roads. Now, we can zoom along and enjoy a lot of Ecuador's wonderful scenery, instead of straining our eyes looking for the next axle-breaking pothole.
A lot of maps, including ours, do not always show these new roads. In fact, the bypass around Chone is 99 percent completed, but there are no signs telling you which way to go. We helped ourselves a little by printing out Google maps, but they are somewhat out of date, too.
The good news is that whenever we got lost on our way to or from Quito, we were given the most courteous and complete directions from cab drivers, gas station attendants, road and construction workers, pedestrians of all stripes, and the very friendly Transito Police! At no time did we feel we were asking too much or feel that the person giving directions was anything but thrilled to help us find our way!
The aerodynamics of our SUV, made by Great Wall in China, assured us that we could float along at 140 kph on most of the interstate highways. We slowed way down in the towns and populated areas, always being aware of folks walking, animals, and especially school kids around school...
And talk about great weather!!! We always pack a bunch of heavy clothes when we go to the mountains, because it is often cold or rainy or both. But...this time we wore short sleeved shirts and blouses for the whole trip and during our two day stay in Quito.
Driving in Quito is always an adventure, as those easy directions that you write for yourself from Google Maps always seem to go haywire just as you enter...it seems that you can come to a major intersection, and see various roads to take, but all of them, you have never heard of!
And...it happened to us again...we had made great time getting to Quito, but now we were hopelessly lost in this huge city. So, we opted for our tried and true method of getting out of these messes, we hired a cab to lead us to our hotel—Easily the best five bucks we spent on the whole trip.
Our hotel suite was really nice, and they welcomed Coquita. In fact, one of the really nice hotel staff went off to SuperMaxi and returned with some chewy gifts for her! We were now suffering quite a bit from the altitude, so we just took some more Sinutabs and stretched out on the nice bed to read our Kindles and check on the news. Nice fast and free Wi-Fi.
We were still feeling pretty weak and dizzy the next morning as we prepared ourselves to visit one of the important Ministries of the Government. We had to take Coquita with us, and we were figuring that maybe Roxanne would have to wait outside, while I took care of business, and then we would switch...
Well...wonderful news, we passed the first two security guards, who gave us a big smile, while indicating that we had to climb up the nearby staircase...no reaction to Coquita (whew!). We got to the next floor, and two more security guards told us to continue on up...and when we reached our destination, the last security person looked at our papers and pointed to an area that was completely devoid of waiting people.
Minutes later we were called, we sat in front of a desk where the nice lady asked what Coquita's name was, as she shuffled through a mountain of paper. Eventually she gathered it all up, stamped everything, wrote a lot of official numbers on the covers, and told us to go to another part of the room.
Here we had to wait a little while (15 min), while Coquita flirted with little girls.
Again a nice lady looked over our docs, told us what to do, smiled at Coquita, and ten minutes later we were walking out of the Ministry.
We had budgeted our time for this process to take all day, but we were done in 90 minutes!
We thought about going back to the hotel to pack up and go home, but we were still a little dizzy from the altitude, so we just said “let's just cool it”.
Roxanne ordered one of our favorite dishes “Rice and Shrimp” from the next door restaurant, and they brought it up to our suite. The cooking was excellent, done in the Ecuadorian way which was saffron rice with a lots of veggies included, plus more shrimp than a person could really eat (but we did anyway!)
We spent the rest of the day reading and feeling quite proud of ourselves.
Just a note, for the whole three day period, the only time we used English, was when we spoke to each other.
The trip back was all downhill, as we like to say...Coasting from over 9400 feet to around sea level in a couple of hours, doesn't use up much gas.
The sky was blue and you could see forever all the way to our driveway.
When we beeped at our gate, we found Agripina, Isidro, Alex and Lucio all waiting to make sure we were OK and to help us get our junk upstairs.
It was a long and tiring trip, but sometimes you need that, just to appreciate that there really is No Place Like Home!
Note: At no time, not once, did we ever feel the least bit threatened by anything or anybody!
This is a lunchtime shot at home...
Another Note: We live at the Coast and have not seen a mosquito at our home in three years! We guess it is the onshore breeze, but quien sabe?