/Have Family, Will Travel/: 24 days in Ecuador
Day 1: Airports
We drive north on the long, desolate road between Rocky Ford and Limon. The land is a flat and barren brown with the touch of winter. Our hearts are full and hopeful for lessons and adventures to come; while our minds are creating anxiety and worry for all that we may not be fully prepared for. We’ve spent much time learning rudimentary Spanish and practice packing. We will be living on just the basics for the next three and a half weeks. We’ve made efforts to leave our vanity at home as it wouldn’t fit into our allotment of one bag each [2 for Chris – he has extra climbing gear in tow].
The airport in Denver is familiar, making it easy to navigate. We are on our AeroMexico flight and settled with no trouble. The adults enjoy the extra leg room they’ve been unexpectedly given, while the girls enjoy all the comforts of a flight out of days gone by with USA domestic air travel. Our female flight attendants wear fancy red hats with matching lipstick while they happily serve full meals and unlimited drinks, and we watch free movies and television if desired. It’s not until arriving in Mexico City, that these fish are thrown swiftly out of the pond.
Navigating bag changes, immigration, security and a loooooong layover in Mexico City prove to be a bit of a challenge. Where are you now basic Spanish we’ve worked so hard to acquire?…not quite as helpful as we’d hoped. And despite our most sincere plans to act and appear as far as possible from the entitled gringo and gringas we are, three of us find ourselves with a Starbuck’s drink in hand just a few hours into our journey. The warm comfort of caffeine may have been worth the brief compromise in our values. The seven hour layover in the loud and uncomfortable airport prove challenging, and very little sleep is found by all, until we board our flight to Quito at 1:30 a.m.
This leg of the flight has all the comforts of the first – full meal, unlimited beverages, and many movies and TV to choose from – but none of those things were desired more than a very long nap. Two hours into my nap, I wake to find Claire, eating noodles, salad, yogurt and desert (Reminder: it’s 3:30 a.m.) while giggling to a movie she’s found to pass her time. It’s clear that tomorrow will be a long one as well.