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Published: August 17th 2012
From the Jungles of Tena to Home:
Well, our day to start home had finally arrived. We ate our last breakfast in the jungle and got on the bus by 6:30am. The bus had arrived last night, with the driver sleeping onboard. After a very long, rough ride out of the jungle, we stopped in Tena to drop off our interpreters before heading to Quito. The ride from Tena to Quito wasn't nearly as interesting as it was on the way in, since we'd seen it all before, but it was a lot quicker. Besides making fewer and shorter stops to use the restroom, this driver went a lot faster too.
We arrived in Quito just after noon and decided to hit the big mall for a couple of hours. Personally, I think this was a mistake for shopping, as the mall was very modern with very little in the way of souvenirs. We'd have had more fun in a market area. Anyways, after a cappuccino and a lot of browsing, we got back on the bus and headed to the airport.
We got to the airport around 4pm and our flight didn't leave until 6:50pm, so we took some time to check out the shops, with a lot of folks finding some good (but more expensive) souvenirs. Because our group had made reservations so late, we had to fly to Bogota, Columbia then to Miami. Although the flight to Bogota was just a little of an hour long, they still served a half decent dinner!
We expected to just wait in the international departure area in Bogota while our bags also bypassed customs, being redirected to the American Airlines flight that night at 12:50am, but no such luck. We had to go thru customs, getting our passports stamped (another country, yippee!), then reverse it all for our next flight. As if that wasn't bad enough, we had to wait over an hour and a half for them to find our luggage, and then stand in line for another hour at the American Airlines ticket counter to check them in.
We ended up getting to the departure gate around midnight, with almost all the shops and food places closed or closing. Fortunately, the flight was delayed until 1:30am and we found one place to get drinks. Apparently, the flight to Miami was full, and our folks were spread throughout the plane. I did get to sit next to Manoli though. They did show a movie, but it wasn't a very good one, so we tried to get some sleep. I think I got an hour or so.
We still arrived in Miami pretty much on time, and had plenty of time to wander around the airport and grab some breakfast before boarding our flight to Pensacola. Our daughter Tanya, and our granddaughter Alexis met us at the airport in Pensacola and we were soon home again. I'll try to add a tips and lessons learned blog entry for the trip later.
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