Wednesday, December 5, 2012

MOVING TO ECUADOR - In Transit to Cuenca and Finally Arriving - Part 2

On Tuesday, we hugged our Ella goodbye, and Patty drove us to the airport.  We flew from Tampa, Florida to Newark, and our flight from Newark would land us in Panama, City at 10:30 pm.  On the flight, we met Javier.  He was flying back to his home in Panama City after spending time with his family in Newark.  He offered to drive us to our hotel after we went through Customs, even though we told him we had LOTS of luggage. Javier's cousin, Kathryn and her two boys, Eduardo and Angel met us outside of Customs, and through Kathryn, we found out our Hilton was about 40 minutes from the airport.  They drove us around trying to find us a hotel closer to the airport so we would have an easier transport in the morning and not miss our flight, but to no avail!  We decided to have them drive us back to the airport and we'd spend the night there, but Kathryn graciously offered for us to stay at her home.  Angels in disguise!!!!

It was an unexpected but wonderful night.  Imagine 8 suitcases and 6 people piled into a jeep called "Berta."  What a sight unheard of in the U.S. where we would have been steeply fined or thrown in jail!  This family made room for us in their already cramped quarters, and we laughed together and got to know them and their kind hearts even more.  The next morning, Kathryn drove us to the airport at 7 am before heading to her work place.  We will always remember their kindness and generosity towards us.  Thank you Javier and Kathryn. 

Our check-in went smoothly, except for the overweight baggage fee we had to pay this round, but we were too tired to rearrange our luggage, so $273 later we were on our way to Guayaquil.  We, again, had another flight that left me enough seating to curl up and sleep.  When we landed and passed through customs, our van driver was not present.  We waited over 30 minutes and were advised by the airport staff to take a taxi to another van company, Operazuaytur, and they accommodated us immediately.  After paying at their office, we were taxied, again, to another location where a van driver loaded up our luggage and we began our journey towards Cuenca.  Another experience!!  Driving through the Cajas National Park to an elevation of around 13,000 feet was a thrill ride.  In Ecuador, a center line means nothing, and passing on a double line around winding curves is just fine!

About 25 minutes outside of Cuenca, Patricio, our van guy, stopped at a restaurant where we were transferred AGAIN to another taxi with all our bags.  Our driver, Giovanni, drove us the last leg of our trip (approximately 3 hours later).  We're still not clear on why the vans were not able to enter Guayaquil or Cuenca, but I'm sure we'll find out the true story later.  We were dropped off at our temporary rental in the historic district, and we're both pleased with what a wonderful place we landed at.  Originally, we planned to stay with an Ecuadorian couple, but we were advised that their home was not centrally located and we would be quite a ways from El Centro.  We knew we wanted to be in walking distance of everything!

Our rental is beautiful!  It is in the Historic District, and we are able to stay here and unwind with enough time to begin looking for our long-term home.   We spent the evening unpacking a few things, then off to a wonderful restaurant Carole, our landlady, recommended.  La Vina's food was delicious, and Bo and I toasted to our "New Beginning" in Cuenca.

Yes, we're finally here, and our long journey to get to Cuenca is over.  We're truly here ready to explore our new city and figure out our new and simpler lifestyle.

Beautiful Wooden Door opens to Historic District, walking distance to everything.

There's a beautiful courtyard and fountain upon entering the gate.

Everything is brand NEW!  We're the first renters.  I love NEW!!!!
We slept and slept and slept our first night here.

Thank you, Carole, for opening up your wonderful and comfortable home for us to rent.  We're loving it......

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Leave us your comments and I will respond with any questions you may have. Enjoy our Blog! Linda (y Bo)