So, I was really looking forward to this trip for several reasons; 1) my first international trip 2)my first “cruise” 3) I was looking forward to a break from work! I never imagined the challenge it would be to get to my vacation location though!
We left Waco on Thursday and spent the night in Lufkin at Janet and Steve’s house. Friday morning, I double checked everything to make sure I had it all; passport, journal, clothes, camera, SD card, and jacket. We headed to the airport around 10 and arrived around 12, then had to check our bags and get through security. After eating lunch and heading to the terminal I began to freak out about my baggage. I am always paranoid that my bag may not make it and then it happened. You see we were flying to Panama City to get a connecting flight to Quito by 10 pm. And then our flight got delayed to 4. Apparently a flight attendant “bumped” the inflatable slide and it slightly inflated and they had to replace it before the next flight could take off. And the flight people in IAH thought we could make the connection if we took off my 4. Then it happened again, they delayed the flight to 5 pm. By this time we knew we wouldn’t make the connection in Panama City. Travis’ dad went to talk to the Contential lady about other possibilities and in THAT process she deleted our returning flights and then booked us for a flight to Quito on July 7th…of 2011…(yes she was a walking disaster). And in all this I am freaking out that my luggage will not make it and I will wear the same clothes for the entire vacation… After going back and forth and finally settling on the idea that we will spend the night in Panama City (courtesy of Contential Airlines) and then catch a connecting flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador the next day we finally board the plane at 6:30 pm. Don’t worry we didn’t take off til 8:15 pm…and we didn’t arrive until 12:oo am. After getting through customs and immigration we get to the hotel, but the guy at the hotel didn’t understand that Janet and Steve were in one room and Travis, Salem and I were going to be in another. After trying to inform him of what we wanted for 20 minutes (he was putting Janet and Travis in one room) we finally just smiled and nodded until we got the room keys. We didn’t inform him of who was actually sleeping in each room but we were only going to be there for like 6 hours so who cared! We (Travis, Salem and I) crashed as soon as we hit the pillow. I am not sure I moved all night.
Next morning, we headed to breakfast. (after we hit the snooze and then Janet called to make sure we were up) I was so paranoid about getting sick on something (stomach bug or fresh food we shouldn’t eat) that I only had bottled water, juice (w/o ice) and cereal. We then headed back to the Panama City airport to continue our journey, this time to Quayaquil, Ecuador. We had a 12:45 flight to Guayaquil on the Ecuadorian coast. Janet and I were both hungry and were impatient to wait for the meal on the airplane, so we went to the Subway in the airport to get lunch. I am so thankful for nice people. Especially nice people who speak spanish for you when you are trying to order a sandwich. (ie the lady in front of me who helped me order my meatball sub with blanc queso. Gracias!) We were all spread out on our flight to Guayaquil. I was lucky enough to sit with Salem, everyone else sat by strangers… during the flight the attendant pulled the drink tray to far out and spilled coke all over my leg and the floor…so now I was sticky and ready to be there! Luckily it wasn’t to bad and the flight was fairly short.
Getting through immigration was fun. They were trying to ask us questions in Spanish, Travis and I had to improvise because neither of us know very much. But we got through immigration and customs and then were off to get a hotel for the night. We ended up staying at Hotel City Plaza in downtown Guayaquil. It was not the tourist area but the hotel was nice! It was a very contemporary modern style done with dark wood tones, orange and white. We ate in the restraunt that night, I kinda wanted mexican and found out the hard way it’s either italian, Ecuadorian or a sandwich; I got the tortellini in Alfredo.
We left early that next morning for the airport, yet again. This time to go to San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos. After meeting the lady from Ecoventura and getting our baggage scanned before getting our boarding passes and checking our luggage we got through security and waited in the fancy AeroGal lounge for our flight. We boarded our flight on time (thank goodness) and took off
on time. Thankfully this was only an hour and a half flight, until we turned around about an hour in and headed back to Guayaquil. (yes you read that right) Apparently, there was a “mechanical issue” that they would not be able to fix in San Cristobal. We landed and departed the plane immediately on the tarmac onto a AeroGal bus that took us to the terminal. We only had to wait about 15 minutes before we could board the new plane. On our way to the new plane I saw my bag, and it looked as if it were going to be the first bag on the new plane. Thankfully they didn’t go over safety information for a second time and we took off quickly. The only problem with the 2nd flight to San Cristobal was we were bored. But we finally made it! I even got a Galapagos Stamp in my passport! Check out our Photos HERE!
Stay tuned for our first day in the Galapagos Islands….