Our flights yesterday from Seattle to Atlanta to the skies above Quito were uneventful. Then the fog arrived in Quito. The city is at 9,000 feet, in a valley surrounded by mountains, with an old airport with a short runway. Pilots must use a visual rather than an instrumental approach. At 11 p.m. planes were stacked up at various altitudes, waiting for the fog to clear enough to land. After 45 minutes, we were low enough on fuel that we had to divert to Guayaquil, on the coast, half an hour away by air.
Once on the tarmac, we waited for two hours for news of clearing at Quito. Finally we got it. We took off, with three other jets, and again stacked in the Quito skies for an hour of circling. Fog worsened. We diverted again to Guayaquil. Left the plane with only our carry-ons, went through immigration, climbed onto buses for a hotel. We're being put up by Delta, and we're going to make another try for Quito tonight.
All part of the adventure of travel. My only problem, if you can call it that, was that we'd arranged for a driver from our first night Quito hotel, to pick us up at the airport. I found a passenger with an operating cellphone and fluency in Spanish to call the hotel three times from airport tarmacs and explain what we were doing. The last call was at 6 a.m. to say we wouldn't be there, but we probably would be tonight, and could we make a reservation? We'd also made arrangements for a driver to pick us up at the Quito hotel this morning to take us to our final destination. That required another phone call. This one in English, but from the lobby of our Guayaquil hotel.
For people headed to the Galapagos Islands to meet a group, this is a major inconvenience. If they could get their luggage from the plane, they could leave from Guayaquil. But the Ecuadorian immigration people have said no, we have to wait until we get to Quito.
Guayaquil is a tropical city - 69 degrees at 4 a.m. and much warmer as the day goes by. The carry-on has a long sleeved knit top for the higher elevation. Oh, well! And only blush and lipstick, and no electronics chargers. But oh, well to that, too!
Sometimes the journey is part of what I remember about our trips. This is one of them, apparently.