Arrival in Quito

10th June, 2013

Last November, we arrived in Quito for our initial exploratory visit to Ecuador. Upon arrival there was a great mass of humanity from the full LAN flight searching for their baggage, then entering an organized line to have their passports reviewed. Because of the chaos we were close to the end of the line. Suddenly an official came up to my husband and told him in commanding terms to come with him. Oh, my God what did we do we wondered. We followed him along the line to the front and as he indicated to an open passport reviewer. As we stepped up the official said "Welcome to Ecuador". It is common practice to allow the older folks access to the front of the line. We could tell we were going to like this country.

We exited customs and unfortunately the hotel had not sent the expected van to pick us up so we found a cab and told him the name of the Nu Hotel in the Mariscal area of the city. It was past midnight and he drove through the city as if there was no restrictions on speed, perhaps he was going 80 MPH on the deserted streets. We held out breath as we careened on to narrow streets. As we approached the Mariscal district the traffic was moving at a crawl and on the streets were throngs of people laughing and enjoying the evening. Music was blaring from the many nightclubs. We finally stopped in the middle of this street party at our hotel. The cab driver unloaded our bags on to the sidewalk and suddenly a younger man ran up an grabbed one of my suitcases and ran down the street. I was shocked at the brazenness of this. Most of the people on the street looked at him running down the street and laughed. Suddenly he returned with the bag all smiles and said "Welcome to Quito". Upon checking in we learned this sort of thing always happens to unsuspecting arrivals. We went up to our room and found a free drink coupon and after freshening up we headed out to the party. We left the hotel lobby entered the street and found that the party was over, no one much on the street and all the bars were closing. It was now about 2 A,M. and we would have to save our coupons for the party another night. These were our first impressions of Ecuador. We did return.

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