Flying and more flying

Quito Travel Blog

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Andes mountains on the plane between Buenos Aires and Santiago.
I am currently sitting in my hotel room in Quito, Ecuador, so first news to report is that I made it!

It was a really long journey to get here, but it turned out to be better than I was expecting. I got about 3 hours sleep the night before we got a taxi to the airport at 4:30am. The flight from Melbourne to Sydney was not surprisingly uneventful. From Sydney to Buenos Aires took about 13 hours, and although the window seat usually only gave me ocean, clouds or night sky, when we crossed over the Andes at the far south of Chile it was impressive.

I was the only one of us four who hadn’t done the onward flight to Quito on the same booking, so when we got off the plane I had a mad mission to collect my bag, depart customs, check my bag back in at the front counter, and go back through customs again.
I am reasonably sure this is Aconcagua. Taken from the west of the Andes in a plane from Santiago to Guayaquil.
I was already pushing it with the 90 minute stop over but the Sydney to Buenos Aires flight was half an hour late, so it became a frantic rush. At one point I was just running through the Buenos Aires airport with my pack trying to find the counter to check my bag in for the next flight and probably looked like a silly gringo. I got to the counter and I was told that the flight had already closed but I think he realised how desperate I was not to get stuck in Buenos Aires so he pulled some strings and let me through. If I was five or ten minutes later I would have been stranded for the night.

Getting into Buenos Aires airport was my first experience with real world Spanish. I have done some lessons on my own but it’s the bare basics and the speed at which they talk in reality is pretty daunting.
Andes mountains on the plane between Buenos Aires and Santiago
When I got on the plane for Quito there was a local Argentine newspaper which pushed home the fact that my language is now only going to sometimes be a second language, if at all, for the locals I talk to for the next 9 or more months. I think I will do alright considering the lessons I did before have given me a bit of foundation.

We actually flew to Quito with stop-overs in Santiago (Chile) and Guayaquil (Ecuador). I had a window seat again for this flight and got some incredible views of the Andes as we crossed over from Buenos Aires to Santiago. The photos give a good idea of what it was like.

We got to Quito at about 8:30pm local time, which was by then about 11:30am the next day in Melbourne. I had slept on and off for short periods over the flights, and at one point from Santiago to Guayaquil I was feeling really average, but when we landed in Quito I wasn’t too bad.
Taken from Chicago Hostel terrace roof
We were met at the airport by Mark and Vanessa who are friends of Ryan. By sheer coincidence they are staying in the same hotel as us so they bargained a taxi van back to the hotel to check in. They had come over a couple of months ago with nearly no Spanish and now they are doing quite well so that makes me feel better about the few times I’ve had already where I get asked something in Spanish and helpfully return with a blank stare.

After we checked in to the hotel we were quite hungry so we got taxis to the New Town area - there is another name for it that escapes me - and had dinner at a classy joint. It was cheaper than home but certainly very upmarket for Ecuador, so it will be one of very few times we do that. It was good to hear all the stories from Vanessa and Mark, especially about the climbing they have done.
Dinner in New Town, Quito

We got to bed maybe around midnight and Sam and I were woken up at about 6am by these explosion-like sounds going off in the distance every minute or so. We really couldn’t tell what they were, but they were very loud and if I had heard them in Melbourne I would have been worried. Instead I am in Quito so I just assumed it was something inocuous. We have just had a good breakfast here up on the terrace of the roof and got our first daylight views of Quito. I think we can see Rucu Pichincha in the distance which we are hoping to tackle in a couple of days time. Mark and Vanessa have made it to the summit despite bad altitude sickness so that makes me more confident than I was before. I haven’t really felt any altitude sickness in the 12 hours I’ve been here, although I notice walking around takes my breath away a bit. We are intending to walk around Quito a lot today so we will see how hard that is.

So I’m here but yet to start tackling the city, so plenty more news to come...

Buenos dias!
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Andes mountains on the plane betwe…
Andes mountains on the plane betw…
I am reasonably sure this is Aconc…
I am reasonably sure this is Acon…
Andes mountains on the plane betwe…
Andes mountains on the plane betw…
Taken from Chicago Hostel terrace …
Taken from Chicago Hostel terrace…
Dinner in New Town, Quito
Dinner in New Town, Quito
Sam, Liz
Sam, Liz
Ryan, Mark, Vanessa
Ryan, Mark, Vanessa
Our first view of the Andes mounta…
Our first view of the Andes mount…
Taken from Chicago Hostel room
Taken from Chicago Hostel room
Newspaper on the plane. I knew at …
Newspaper on the plane. I knew at…
photo by: Bluetraveler