My time over the last couple of days has been a series of misadventures.
I had a six hour stopover in Santiago and then caught a three- hour flight to Lima in Peru where I spent the night at the airport hotel – right across the road from the airport terminal. Along with six other passengers who were on the same flight from Sydney, my bags did not arrive. I wasn’t happy about this, especially after travelling for 30 hours and being very jet lagged..
It took a half hour to fill in the report forms at the baggage service desk and then I made my way over to the hotel, ready to crash into bed. I later found out that our bags were actually in Lima already. They had been flown up on an earlier flight but not put onto the baggage belt in the collection area. That explains why all the bags of the other people were missing as well.
On the next morning, I caught my flight to Quito in Ecuador. Fortunately, I had packed a spare shirt and a change of underwear in my back pack so I had something clean to change into. I could have gone to the airline office in Lima to check on my bag but it didn’t open until after my flight was scheduled to board. I finally was able to contact their lost baggage office who told me that they have located it and will expedite it to Quito.
Once I arrived in Quito, I had to get my back pack x-rayed and needed to give my passport to the security man. In my jet lagged stupor, i forgot to retrieve it from him and only realised after I had left the airport with the driver who was transferring me to my hotel. I returned to the airport and fortunately, I was able to retrieve it from the security area without much trouble.
Then the Peregrine Tours representative took me to a hotel that was different from the one listed in my itinerary. The receptionist was kind enough to call Peregrine Travel’s office and check. Finally, with the correct hotel details, II had to catch a taxi for a 30 minute ride to my proper hotel at Hotel La Parc. It is a very nice and modern boutique hotel in the northern part of the city.
From what I can see, Quito is an interesting place. We flew in along a narrow valley and could see steep mountains on either side of the plane. From what I could see from the taxi, the town appears to be bit similar to Lisbon in Portugal. I’m looking forward to exploring it further in the next frew days. It is quite safe to walk around most areas of the old town during the day, but not at night. Quito is the second highest world capital the world in altitude (after La Paz in Bolivia). It is surrounded by a number of volcanoes, one of which is active.
I spent my first afternoon here walking a kilometre, or so, up to a large shopping mall to see if I could find some replacement clothes for the next few days. Ecuadorians are generally a small statured people and I realised after trying three stores that it was going to be a difficult task to find much in my size. Their largest sizes were at leas two sized too small for me. In the end I found a Tommy Hilfiger store that had few pairs of trousers (pantaloons in Spanish) and a couple of Polo shirts. I don’t really need designer label clothes but these were the only ones that I could fit into. I was helped by a nice young man with good English. He reminded me that I would also need socks and underwear as well, so his store made quite a sale out of me. I’m now decked out like a young fashion model and ready to charm the locals in my new gear. I trust that American Express travel insurance will come to the party to pay for the cost.
I returned to my hotel feeling absolutely buggered – overdone with tiredness, jet lag and not helped by the high altitude. I was asleep by 8.00 pm but awake, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 1.00 am ready to start the next day. I am being picked up at 6.30 am for my side trip to the cloud forest.