25.06.10 – from Santiago de Chile to Quito

Bidded farewell to the nice comfy hotel in the nice Providencia district.

The view from the plane of the Andean mountain range is impressive, even when not sitting by the window. The Andes! I have heard of you since Form 2 geography!

The flight to Guayaquil (south of Ecuador) is more than 5 hours. That’s longer than the flight from Singapore to Beijing. South America is too big to be a part of a continent.

Though the flight is operated by LAN Ecuador, you know where the crew is from based on the mid-turbulence announcements on the match between Chile and Switzerland. Mind you, I was madly clinging to the armrests, and people were still spirited enough to cheer.

The plane stopped at Guayaquil for about 45 minutes to drop off some passengers and refuel, before flying for another 30 minutes to Quito. The small airport was packed with people from several flights. Smooth clearance at immigration and customs, unlike the Chilean customs whom I will forever remember for taking away my sour plums!

Outside in the arrival hall, the crowd is even bigger. It was unusual and endearing to see some people carrying big bunches of balloons to greet their loved ones. For a peace of mind I had arranged for airport transfer from the hostal (that’s how it is spelt in Ecuador, and I was to find out that it doesn’t always mean “hostel”) even though it is twice that of normal taxi fare. I spotted my name on a card, actually spelt correctly for the first time during this trip. Greeted by Jessica and her mom who runs the hostal.

The hostal is in the old town, and en route Senora Vega made a detour to show me some sights near the hostal, beautifully lit at night. The streets and buses were filled with the Friday night crowd.

At the hostal, there is no elevator. Luckily there is a guy at the reception who helped with the luggage. I get to choose which room I wanted. The first room is big, with a queen sized bed, 2 bunk beds and attached bathroom (probably a family room. Is this low season? Strange). Although it is probably further away from the street, I thought the room was too big and the furniture arrangement weird. I was shown another two smaller rooms, and the guy lugged my bag along. Both had queen sized beds and attached bathrooms. I randomly picked one in blue colour theme because I was feeling bad about the guy who was carrying my luggage around.

Re-arranged the furniture a bit and called it a night.

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