Leaving the US for Ecuador!

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September 27th 2008
Published: February 3rd 2009
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Meal on planeMeal on planeMeal on plane

I felt like I would get in trouble taking a picture on the plane, so I took this without a flash. Think of it as an abstract meal.

Flying First Class, American Airlines, DC to Miami

Flying to Ecuador can be an expensive undertaking, unless you have a father who travels a lot for business and accrues a large amount of frequent flyer miles. :-) Based on my fly dates, I "had" to travel first class - which is awesome. Big comfy seats, adequate leg room, and one flight attendant for only 10 people. Right after takeoff, Devon came around with a Diet Coke and a bowl of warm, mixed nuts. I enjoyed my nuts while reading my first book of the trip Legend. But after I was finished, Devon came around with that stupid rolled up, hot hand towel. What I was supposed to do with that, I do not know. I declined, but everyone else in Business Class went to town with it.

Next on the schedule was lunch/dinner? that was a salad with chicken (yummy) and a glass of white wine (woot), and dessert was a warm chocolate chip cookie and coffee. Best part? We who pay more are trusted with real metal silverware. This was much better eating than the peanuts that you get back in coach.

I think the man sitting next to me was some sort of VIP in DC. Prior to takeoff, he was on his iPhone talking about a $2 million deal, pushing something through, etc. Yes, I know its wrong to eavesdrop, but come on, when you are sitting right next to someone on a plane, you are privy to their world for that amount of time. We talked only a little bit, but he did mention that he works in DC but lives in Miami. So maybe a lobbyist or something.

The first flight was uneventful, with only slight turbulence. On landing in Miami, I had a VERY long walk to the E33 gate for my flight, which was in about 2 hours. I watched Swing Kids on my iPod, then tried calling dad just to say hi. It cost me $1 for 5 min! Boy, do I miss my iPhone! :-( I called several times, letting it ring only 4 times to avoid going to voicemail and spending more money. Finally he picked up and we talked for the 5 min. During that time, people were lining up at the gate for the 2 customs forms we needed to fill out, and that's when the trouble started...

Panic Time!

I went to get my forms after hanging up with dad, and found a seat to go fill them out. Just your average form, until I got to the part where they wanted the address where I would be going to once in Quito. No problem, I thought, until I searched through my huge packet of info, and discover the only piece of paper I am missing is the one email from Rosita regarding the names and address of my host family. Crap.

So of course I freak out, but decide that its no problem, I'll just call dad back, have him go in my email, find it, and give me the names. Except first I had to beg for $2 in quarters because I had run out, and the only free pay phone was far away from my gate, so I couldn't hear announcements. It took about 10 calls to get through to dad this time, and due to bad reception in our house, he had to go outside to hear my password and what I wanted him to look up. I barely finished in the 5 min, and told him I would call back in 5 min when he had the required information.

At this time my plane started to board. I was frantically calling dad while all the groups were called. Finally I just left dad a voicemail saying not to worry about it. I know my family will be meeting me at the airport in Quito, I will be wearing a CFHI nametag, and I will just use my language school's address on the customs form. I felt really bad and hoped my dad wasn't worrying about me.

Pissed Off Time

After being one of the last people to board the flight, I have been sitting here in first class, on the plane, at the gate for at least an hour now. We are waiting on passengers arriving from London - airline policy stating that we either wait for them to clear customs, or their luggage has to be removed from the plane. I'm pissed because during this hour, I could have been talking to dad, getting things straightened out, etc. Now I'm just hoping that we're not too late and my host family is waiting for me.

Once I land in Quito, my plane is to look for an internet cafe or some place where I can check my email in the airport. It's going to be awkward meeting these people and not knowing their name. I hope dinner is good, and that I get more free wine, and that I'm not too late on arriving.

See you in Quito!


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