Quito Travel Blog› entry 10 of 17 › view all entries
Our taxi picked us early (5:30AM) from our Hotel to take us to the dock to catch our speed boat back to Santa Cruz Island. Once at the dock we had to pay the $5 departure tax. We arrived at Port Muelle around 8AM where we were met by Veronica, our tour guide. After breakfast at one of the local restaurants, we took a taxi to see Los Gamelos (twin crater) which was on our way to Puerto Ayora to catch the ferry back to Baltra Island. We encountered some heavy showers for the first time throughout our trip. It was just a 10 minute ferry ride to the dock on Baltra Island. There the shuttle bus by Aerogal was waiting for us to take us to the airport. Because of the heavy rains, the plane was delalyed by an hour due to poor visibility. We were surrounded by a bunch of gigly elementary girls (approximately 40) who were returning from a one week excursion to the Galapagos. I met their teacher who was so happy to practice her English with me. I tried to make small conversations with the young girls with my limited Spanish. Needless to say, I had to say many times, "lo siento, no entiendo" (I am sorry, I do not understand). Everyone just assumed I am South American with my lovely tanned complexion and they all kinda looked at me perlexed when I say..."lo siento, no hablo espanol bueno". Of course, I just have to say a couple words in Spanish to convince them!
Our airplane, Aerogal was the best. They do serve cocktails for free and we always get a nice hot meal. We were met in Quito by our land tour company who had previously arranged for airport pickup. After collecting our bags we were whisked away to our downtown hotel, San Francisco. The traffic congestion in Quito was really bad. The streets were very narrow and the air quality very poor. It took us an hour and half to get from the airport to downtown which normally would take 20-30 minutes. We must have hit the rush hour.
The San Francisco hotel was located approximately two blocks from the main square. It was an a quant old spanish style hotel with the indoor courtyard. It was noticeable the huge amount of armed guards around the downtown area as well as the numerous locks on the entrace to the hotel. Upon checking in, the clerk at the front desk gave me a key for a room that was specially reserved for me. Since, I made the bookings for my group of nine people, I thought, ok, they are giving me a really neat room for bringing them all this business. The clerk then gave me four keys for the four people who ordered a single suite. They basically just picked a key from the bunch. After checking out each person's room, I found out that one of these keys was to a suite on the top floor (the honeymoon suite) with windows all around and a spectacular view of the mountain/city. My suite was located on the 2nd floor with no window and no view and was specifically assigned by the manager! Naturally, I was very upset...why wasn't I assigned the best room or at least a room with a view??? I went down and spoke with the clerk as there must have been a mistake. He insisted that that was the room the manager assigned to me and that there were no other rooms available for him to switch me to and that I had to speak with the manager the following day. There was no fat chance that the woman that was assigned the honeymoon suite was going to give it up to me. So when the manager arrived the following day, I spoke with her and ask how could she assign me a room like that as the tour leader. She said that she thought that I wanted to be close to everyone and that she thought she was doing me a favor by putting me on the 2nd floor where I would not have to walk up and down all those steps to the honeymoon suite. I told her that I did not give a hoot about the steps and how in the world would a room on the second floor with no window and a scaffold outside the door be a better room than the honeymoon suite surrounded by windows and a spectacular view of the city/mountain...duh! She apologized and said she would move me to another room with a view. Well, I might have stayed in the same room. The second room had a partial view from the kitchen area and really no better than the first. This was a major blubber and one which will definitely cut any chances of my ever taking another group to this hotel (see review for further details).
We walked over to the plaza and had dinner at one of the local restaurants in a complex directly across from the plaza.