No photos today, it was a travel day. The alarms (3 of them) went off at 0630 and we were out of the hotel by 0700 as we'd paid for the room last night. We caught a cab for a $1 ride to the bus terminal which is just out of town. The $1.80 per head bus ride left at about 0715 and we arrived at the water taxi to Baltra Island about 45 minutes later. There we cooled our heels until a bus came down from the airport. We got there at about 0900 and checked in for a 1045 flight on AeroGal airlines, one of two Ecuadorian airlines that serves the Galapagos. However, the plane was an hour late arriving so we waited a lot.
The flight is normally a one stop where Quito passengers stay on the airplane at Guayaquil for about 45 minutes, but due to the messed up schedules, they took us all off the airplane and we waited in the transit lounge for about half an hour. Then we got on another smaller plane with the same flight crew to continue to Quito. Overall, we were only about a half hour late.
A $6 taxi ride took us back to the Crossroads hostel where we checked back into room 17 and reclaimed all of our stored luggage. We spent the next hour or more unpacking from our hand carries and repacking the big suitcases. It seems that our stuff has expanded because it didn't get close to fitting back into the suitcases that it came in. Sandy had another duffle backed so we filled it with dirty clothes, of which we have a lot.
We plan to get dinner next door at the mexican place and then settle in for the night. Our flight doesn't leave until about 1600 tomorrow and we have to check out at 1200 so we'll have another long wait at the airport. We should get back to LAX just after midnight tomorrow barring any problems along the way.
We've made it back home, almost whole. Two of our bags got left behind, with many others, due to aircraft weight restrictions. They are supposed to be delivered here tomorrow. I loaned a 110 VAC cheater plug to a PAP staff member in Quito, but he left before he could return it. Sandy's iGo Juice70 charger died, we need to get it fixed. My computer was acting up during the trip experiencing kernel panics at least every day. It has done this in the past, I need to do some diagnosis to determine what is wrong but I suspect a corrupted system file or perhaps some flakey RAM. Assuming that we get our bags back, then we didn't loose anything else that we know of.
We got back to LAX spot on time at 5 minutes past midnight, but it took nearly an hour to get off the airplane because the jetway didn't work. They brought up a stairway, and it apparently didn't work either. Then they put us on a bus to the Tom Bradley terminal to go through immigration and customs. Charlie met us there and brought us home.
I have some reflections on life in Ecuador that didn't occur to me until now as things are "different" here.
We can flush our toilet paper. Everywhere in Ecuador there were signs posted in the bathrooms asking us to put our used TP in the trash. Their sewer systems apparently can't handle TP. It is a relative luxury to just be able to drop it in the bowl.
I noticed on the trip to the Galapagos and also when we left Quito the last time that the airplane seemed to be running really fast at V1 (the speed where the nose wheel lifts). This is probably due to the thin air as the aircraft actually needs more speed to make adequate lift. Both times, he took off really hot.
Our internet connection seems to be really fast. I guess that I got used to slow connections. At least we had internet access in most places.
I got a little used to the crazy drivers. As we were coming home last night, even the drunks on the road at 0200 seemed calm and considerate.
I returned to several "lifestyle maintenance" tasks. Our toilet was running badly, refilling every few minutes. It needs a new flapper. The microwave oven burnt up, I need to get another one. The dryer gas valve doesn't work, I need to get that fixed. The battery was dead on my truck, I jumped it this morning. The backyard railroad was in pretty good shape, I pulled some weeds and need to trim some ivy, but all looks well anyway.
I only got a few hours of sleep last night, I woke up at 0700 Quito time, 0500 local time. I expect that I'll simply crash sometime later in the day.
Right now, I doing backups of our trip photos and such in preparation for some software updates. Later, Sandy and I will probably head to Costco to reprovision. The boys are well, there is no obvious signs of drunken parties are other such nonsense. I do need to clean up the kitchen, it's not looking so good.
Overall, it is good to be home and sleep in my own bed.
One of our two missing bags showed up today, one more to go. Copa Airlines says that it'll be here tomorrow. They are dribbling them out of Quito depending on the weight situation of any given flight.
I bought a new microwave oven for $60 at Costco and got the dryer fixed so we can do laundry. iGo says that they will replace the Juice70 power converter at no charge. When I drove my truck for the first time after getting back, I realized that it needed brakes as a front disk just started to grind. That got fixed right away. I cleaned up the backyard railroad so that it is operational again. We went through all the mail and paid outstanding bills. Charlie had been paying them as they came in but a few got away.
Once the last suitcase shows up, we can declare the trip officially over.
The LAST bag finally arrived. There was lots of confusion over the last one. Every time we called, we got different information. Finally we got somebody on the phone that knew exactly where the bag was AND there was somebody available to deliver it.
I cut the ground pin off a 99 cent store outlet expander to make a new cheater. iGo sent us a new Juice70 for free. That model is out of production but they had one lying around so they shipped it. Good customer service. I found a bad 1GB memory stick in my computer that had been causing problems since before we left. The bad RAM was causing it to crash once or twice a day. It's stable with the stick removed and the stick is supposed to be replaced under it's lifetime warranty.
We are done.
© 2009 George Schreyer
Created 4 Aug 09 09
Last Updated August 13, 2009