The Up’s and Downs of Traveling

One could say that life is a series of ups and downs, the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, and when combined with travel it takes on a new meaning. The day before their trip Dave and Kathy, excited for their next adventures, joyfully checked into their upcoming flight which was to leave Buffalo for Fort Lauderdale and then from Fort Lauderdale to Quito, Ecuador. What a high!! Feeling confident that we should have one of our PCR test results before our flight we took a long walks, ate dinner, and settled down to watch a movie before our big travel day. What goes up, must come down as the old saying goes. At 7 pm on the dot the night before our big flight, we get a text: our flight from Buffalo to Fort Lauderdale was cancelled. Panicked, we picked up the phone and hurriedly sat on hold……….. on hold……and then some more on hold. During these two hours we checked other ways of getting to Fort Lauderdale to catch our flight to Quito which was still on time. Several options were available, but they rapidly vanished during our long wait for someone to pick up the phone. A little over two hours later we found that we had no option available to us on JetBlue. Now we had to find another way to get to Quito, but how? We cancelled our jetBlue flight going from Buffalo to Quito and rebooked on another airline with a flight leaving at 06:00 the next morning – 8 hours from now!! Oh no, we have no PCR result!! A forty minute drive to the airport and a lot of money later, we had results by the time we got home from having the test taken. A frantic run around the house to make sure we had everything ready for our now 0600 flight and we “settled” into bed at midnight. A “well-rested” two hours later we were woken up by a text message!! Phew, just another result of a PCR test. Now to run around, feed the kittens, and head to our brother’s house to be driven to the airport. Thankfully he didn’t seem to mind too much to be awakened at 0300 to get us to the airport in time for our flight.

The day of travel was a series of highs. We felt lucky to land in Quito a mere 25 hours after our initial flight was canceled.  One hurdle out of the way. Our ride was even at the gate waiting for us and efficiently dropped us at our hotel.  We tiredly checked into our room before 10 pm at and promptly went to sleep. Another high:  a full night’s sleep with no kittens waking us up at 0500 to be fed.

We had a lazy first morning drinking coffee, eating breakfast, and chatting with a couple who will be on the boat with us. We felt comfortable with them as they were from Apex, NC, near where we used to live in NC. Next, we set off to explore the city of Quito, a city with a lot of highs…like a lot. We seemed to walk up, and up, and up, and we were grateful for the downhills.  We walked by a beautiful church which was just about to start mass.  We ducked inside to give thanks while enjoying another mass in a foreign country.  Afterwards, we walked through a park which was having a New Year’s Eve festival.  We ate some food from a pushcart for lunch.  We toured the Basilica in Quito, including climbing high into all three bell towers.  We saw many people dressed in costumes and many homemade manikins arranged just so for the holiday.  We made our way back to the hotel to freshen up and check about dinner.  We were told we needed reservations to have dinner at the hotel.  Then we were told they had no reservations available for us.  Then we were told they did have room for us.  Then we were told dinner was a buffet and cost $75 USD each.  Dinner was great…at the tiny restaurant down the street (and cost ten bucks for the both of us, plus $4 for two bakery fresh desserts.)  While looking to find a suitable (read: cheap) restaurant, we watched a parade go by lead by a person dressed as Death from COVID.  We would have missed this delight had we eaten at the hotel!

Tomorrow, we go on a half day tour of Quito.  It will have a hard time surpassing the time we had on our own today!

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