We’re in Ecuador!
We made it to Guayaquil!
Good morning from Ecuador. Yesterday began with a 3:30am push off from Lewiston in three vans. We arrived at Logan around 6am and were able to check in with American Airlines pretty easily. Despite being a Monday (when I expected there to be a lot of business travelers), the security line was quite short. Students were able to get some breakfast before we boarded our 7:50am flight to Miami. Our plane tickets were bought through a travel agent, so we were all seated together on the plane. Everyone was excited to get south, especially after the long Maine winter we had endured. Stepping off the plane in Miami, the humidity was apparent to us. Our layover was long, and devices were charged, lunch was eaten, and sugary treats were acquired. We boarded our four-hour flight to Guayaquil at 4:50EST. Despite being up for more than 12 hours, everyone was still awake and doing well. The flight attendants fed us and then put on Ender’s Game. As far as I could tell, the majority of the class was watching with baited breath. The movie was great and ended about 10 minutes before landing. In Guayaquil, we waited with our customs and immigration forms; what we thought would take an hour only took ½ hour. Some students were questioned a little more closely due to our educational visas we obtained from the Ecuadorian Embassy a few months ago. Once everyone had received the arrival ‘stamp of approval’ from immigration, we got our bags and moved through customs. In Guayaquil (and in my experience, Quito, as well), they collected our bag tags and the sticker from the bag tag that was given to us in Boston. That led to a slight scramble to find the sticker given to us at 5am. We strolled through the remainder of the airport and met up with Greg’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law who live in Guayaquil. They helped us call the hotel shuttle and then we waited in the warm and humid air and watched the koi in the adjacent pond. After what seemed like a long, 45 minute, wait for the shuttle we loaded up our stuff, drove to downtown and checked-in. We knew we were in South America when the power went off twice as we checked in for our rooms. Fortunately, our hotel has a back-up generator, so if the power had gone off again last night, we would still have air conditioning and internet! Greg, his family, and I went to a typical Ecuadorian restaurant and ate fish, goat, and beef prepared in numerous ways. Arriving back in the hotel at around midnight, I had logged a 23 hour day, so I was able to sleep well.
Today we head back to the Guayaquil airport to board our plane for the Galapagos. We will need to go through numerous steps to check-in for the flight, so an early arrival at the airport is necessary. Once in the islands, we will be checking-in at our hotels in Santa Cruz in the town of Puerto Ayora. Exploration of the Charles Darwin Research Station is on the itinerary for the afternoon. Stay tuned for more updates from the ‘rock.’