2nd Part of Flight and Landing in Quito

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September 27th 2008
Published: February 3rd 2009
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My New HomeMy New HomeMy New Home

Ave Americas y Rumipamba

Miami to Quito

There were both good and bad things about my flight leaving the US. Good - wine I had with dinner and awesome ice cream sundae for dessert. Bad - gross dinner, half full wine glass was taken away without my consent. Good - in flight movie. Bad - couldn't hear it well enough to follow. Good - lightning storm outside. Bad - couldn't get any of it on film. Moving on.

In addition to the delay at the gate in Miami, there was also some weather (obviously) that we had to go around. This meant that I was now about 2 hours behind schedule. I landed in Quito at 11:20pm, which is one hour behind VA time. So I was TIRED. When you get off the plane, you have to walk down a very long glass hallway - which sucks when you have very heavy carryons, as I did. Most of the ads I was passing were for TGIFridays. (Side note - apparently, TGIFs is not the place you want to eat in Quito, go figure).

Quito's Airport

One crazy thing about the airport was that when you head down to customs and baggage, there is an escalator that you have to go down. Overlooking this is a huge wall of glass that looked like it was enclosing a food court of some kind. There was a huge crowd of people pressed against the glass, looking down on us as we headed downstairs. I felt rather conspicuous at that point.

I finally made it to customs, where I got my passport stamped and they didn't give a crap that I didn't have the address of where I was going. Which made the earlier drama so much more annoying. Next it was on to baggage claim, a huge mass of confusion. I kept getting pushed back by people and luggage being put on my feet, so I finally just backed up as far as I could, and resolved to shove my way up once I saw my big blue bag. :-) Thank God I got my bag with no problem, but it was very difficult to try to navigate through the crowd with it.

Then its on to Customs #2, where they take the 2nd form and X-ray my bags again. Which was sooo helpful, considering the guy wasn't even looking at the
Second DoorSecond DoorSecond Door

This leads to the long dark hallway.
screen as my bags went through. Awesome. Grand finale - a walk on the red carpet. To leave the airport, you enter this huge room full of people who are kept out of the aisle by ropes. All I could see were signs, flowers, balloons, and excited faces as people looked for familiar faces. A man is waiting at the top of the red carpet to check your baggage claim ticket - while I think that is a nice idea, it was almost bad before I remembered where I had put my ticket (I mean seriously, who even holds on to that any more?!?)

Marcos, Polo

Done with all airport and official business, I began to look for my name. I had my name tag on, and I was working hard to make sure it was clearly visible to whomever was waiting for me. As I neared the exit I was getting more and more nervous, because it was almost midnight and I really didn't want to have an issue in a foreign country when I was exhausted. Just then I see a thin guy near the door holding a sign with my name on it. I will admit, though, I did have several moments of doubt that I had hallucinated my name and I was getting into a cab with a strange man. But I didn't so its cool.

Marcos was a very nice man, and on the 10 minutes or so ride to his house he kept asking me questions. I tried to answer as best I could, but I was having a hard enough time thinking in English, let alone espaƱol. Once we reached their apartment, I will confess that my first impression was "Oh my God I'm going to be living here for a month?!?!" The building was on a main road in the city, a cement block amongst other cement blocks with a huge black iron gate as the first entrance. The second entrance into the building led to a dark hallway, up a flight of uneven stairs with low head clearance, then to a sliding red metal door.

My New Home

Despite the, um, unforgiving appearance of the outside, the apartment in side looked nice. Clean and homey. I was shown to my room in the other half of the of apartment. Marcos pointed out the bathroom and mentioned
Low Clearance!Low Clearance!Low Clearance!

I only hit my head here one time, thankfully not very hard, but it definitely looks like other people weren't so lucky, doesn't it? Yes, I am standing up normally - the concrete beam is that low over the stairs.
that there was another CFHI student living there. Thank goodness, at that moment I really didn't want to be alone. My room had 2 twin beds separated by a curtain, one desk and chair, 2 night stands, a long closet with 2 chests of drawers inside. All in all, not a bad room.

Even though it was pretty late, I did a lot of unpacking that night, although it was mostly laying out my nice clothes on the other bed to prevent more wrinkles. Initially I thought my room was hot and stuffy, but I couldn't figure out how to open the windows. It was a good thing I didn't, because it definitely got colder later on. I was supposed to be at La Y (pronounced yay) at 9am on Sunday morning, with breakfast being served starting at 7am, so I knew I needed to get to sleep. So after finishing my book Legend, I did.

Additional photos below
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Front doorFront door
Front door

This was kept open whenever anyone was home. At night, it was terribly loud to open, especially coming home after a night out. :-)
Bed and desk - and Frog! :-)Bed and desk - and Frog! :-)
Bed and desk - and Frog! :-)

This was my side of the room that thankfully I didn't have to share with another person. That would have been totally awkward.

You couldn't throw toilet tissue into the bowl, that is what the garbage can next to it is for. Not a totally strange concept to me - I had to do it in Panama. Also, tap water was not safe to drink, but I did still use it to brush my teeth. And don't even get me started on how to use the shower to get hot water...

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