Little did we know what we were in for when we said that we wanted a little bit of adventure. We were scheduled to leave last Saturday (April 23rd) at 9:25am. Everything was on time. In order to get a decent fare, we were going to have to change planes a few times. Well, Louisville to Charlotte, NC - on time. Charlotte, NC to Aruba - on time, but we landed late. We did not have enough time to get our luggage through customs and make our connection to Panama City, Panama. We ran around trying to find out where we needed to be. It was not a pretty picture. It is not something that I want to live through again.
After realizing that we weren't going anywhere that day, we got a room for the night at a place near the airport and called Orbitz to see when we could get out of there. It was not good news. We were going to be "stuck" in Aruba for 5 days. Since it looked it was going to be more than 1 day, I got on line and booked another hotel for the next 4 nights. Once we moved to our new digs, things started looking up. We were closer to the beach and the casinos. And we had a blast!! Even had some luck at the casinos after a couple of days. So we didn't mind the unexpected vacation. If we hadn't had to haul 5 huge, heavy suitcases, plus a carryon, backpack, and computer bag, we wouldn't have minded at all. Although after all of our planning, we were looking forward to getting to Cuenca.
I took some pictures with my phone, but I can't send them to myself because my phone is no longer active. If I am finally able to download them in the future, I will have to show you some of the awesome sunsets that we watched (several nights in a row!) in Aruba. It is a beautiful place, but definitely not cheap! We spent $78. on 3 cab rides in 5 days. That could get us almost 40 cab rides in Cuenca.
So, Thursday afternoon we head to the airport to go to Quito via Panama City, Panama. When the airline agent asked when we were we returning, we made the mistake of telling them that we were not coming back to the States; that we were going to live in Ecuador. Well, that was a BIG mistake. They said that they could not allow us to leave without some documentation (I guess since 9/11, everything has changed). So we called our attorney in Quito, Ecuador and told her the situation. She emailed them the copies of our application visas (which I don't think they were supposed to accept) and they allowed us to leave. (We thought we were never going to get off of that island!!). It was a VERY stressful 2 hours! There was a very nice agent, Nataly, who helped us.
On to Panama City, Panama...where we sat for 3 hours in a very crowded airport. Finally we loaded on a bus to go to the plane where we sat for a while because they were not ready for us to load. After finally getting everyone on the plane, we sat for another HOUR because of a mechanical problem. It seemed like a nightmare that would not end. At last, we took off and landed in Quito at midnight. We were just glad to finally get to Ecuador.
The next morning, we checked to make sure that our flight from Quito to Cuenca had been rescheduled by Orbitz (remember we were supposed to arrive last Sunday?). It had NOT. So we spent an hour in a LAN Airline office trying to get a new flight. Everything seemed like it was taking forever. We got to the airport just in time--again with all of that luggage (too many maletas--suitcases!!). More overweight fees!!! If I can give one piece of advice to anyone thinking about doing this.....make sure your bags are under the weight allowance. Those fees can really add up.
But we are finally here!! And everything has been going well since we arrived. We are stocking the frig and unpacking all of the bags. Looking forward to getting settled. The Magic Jack phone works as well as Skype, so if anyone wants to call or talk, just let me know. Sorry for the delay in letting my friends and family know what had happened. Miss everyone, but will keep in touch.