Quito to Cuenca
Our final breakfast at the Patio Andaluz Hotel in Quito. It is sad to leave such a lovely hotel but we have lots more to see and do. On route to the airport we see preparations in Quito's main square for the weekly Presidential address and changing of the guard. There is a military band rehearsing and school children all neatly lined up ready for the main event. This time we escape the imminent road closures and indeed we are lucky all the way to Quito Airrport - there's hardly any traffic at all. On arrival at the we go to check-in with our airline, TAME. The staff soon produce our boarding cards and start to take our luggage. However everything then stops for an airport-wide power cut. Generators seem to cut in shortly afterwards but the luggage belt doesn't move. After a while Richard and Santiago jump behind the check-in counters and start moving luggage. No one takes any notice and at least the congestion is cleared and more people can get checked in. Over the next half an hour the power comes on and goes off a few times but life seems to continue unaffected.
The flight to Cuenca is only just over half an hour so you take off, increase altitude, decrease altitude and land. Hardly time to do aanything but the crew somehow manage to serve tea, cofffee and juice to all passengers. Landing at Cuenca we are met by two new buses with Neptali and Eduardo driving. Around 15 minutes later we are checking in at the El Dorado hotel in the centre of Cuenca. After some free time we enjoy a nice dinner in the hotel's private banqueting suite.
Epilogue: No names mentioned but two of our guests made a purchase before leaving Patio Andaluz this morning. The item purchased was a hand-paimted wood carving of two parrots on a tree trunk. The parrots are pretty much life size so they were unlikely to be accepted as hand luggage on flights. They may even be too large to fit in the average suit case. Apparently they will be wrapped and dispatched by air post in the next couple of days. They may well arrrive back in the UK before we do so if you happen to receive some parrots in the post please do not "return to sender".