Welcome to Quito
An early start. Some of us wake up at the Premier Inn Heathrow. Some of us meet at Terminal Five. Everyone reports on time (despite the early hour!). British Airways checks us in efficiently and we head through security. Dawn has come up to help but now heads back home to run the business for a week before joining us in Guayaquil.
Our BA aircraft is full to the brim. As we land at Madrid Airport the pilot heads for a stand and it appears he is about to park. Then there is a sudden change of plan and we do a 360 turn and poodle about along the tarmac. Finally we come to a stop in the middle of nowhere. Apparently the airport traffic control changed their mind and we are to park remotely and transfer to the terminal by buses. And that´s what we do. Despite numerous terminal stands being entirely vacant! Our Iberia flight from Madrid to Quito is not so eventful. The crew are bubbly (yes bubbly!) and after a couple of meals, films, reading and an occasional snooze, we land into Ecuador´s capital ahead of schedule. Once through immigration we collect our bags and go to exit through final security. Richard and a few guests manage to evade the scanner, but most of the group have their luggage scanned. Richard promises this was a random result, he doesn´t have any preferential agreement! But it helps because he is carrying lots of tourist radios and if these are scanned it usually takes some time to explain what they are. He whistles quietly and moves on quickly.
Fernando, our local guide, greets us and we jump on board our private coach and head for Quito city centre. Quito´s new airport is lovely but the new fast highway between the airport and the city is not yet finished, so we take part old road and part new. The traffic is not bad this evening so we make good progress. Arriving at our hotel, the Patio Andaluz, we are greeted by the reception team with a welcome drink and room keys. Richard encourages everyone to come down to the restaurant for a light meal and stay up as long as possible. It is best to acclimatise to the local time difference as quickly as possible but we know if has been a long day. Everyone joins us!
Now time to sleep. Welcome to Ecuador!