On to Ecuador via Panama

Queueing at the airport with no check in desks open
Queueing at the airport with no check in desks open

It was a very early start today as we wanted to be at the airport by 8.30am or thereabouts. After breakfast at 7am and packing up, our taxi picked us up and drove us to the airport. We needn’t have bothered arriving early. Every single check in desk was closed until 9am, when a couple opened to check in Deb’s flight to Bogota. Mine eventually opened and it was slow progress. I had forgotten what it was like in the ‘good old days’ before online check in and self service machines. I shall appreciate them all over again now!

Havana airport
Havana airport

I joined Deb in the almost empty departure lounge where we had a coffee before her flight left. Mine went half an hour later and it took about 2 1/2 hours to Panama. It was quite a shock to be back in the 21st Century in a very busy, bustling and modern airport. I only had an hour between flights, but had time to buy a replacement charger cable for my ipad (mine having given up as soon as I left Montreal), and get some cash.

Neither flight was full so I was very comfortable and I read one of the books I had rescued from a friend’s charity shop box three months ago and which I had been carrying around with me ever since. There were a group of Haitians sitting near me and one, who was the closest, seemed to have St Vitus’ dance, as he couldn’t sit still, opened and closed his window shade, and burped the entire flight whilst listening to loud music through his ear phones.

Flying over Cuba
Flying over Cuba
Flying over the Panama Canal
Flying over the Panama Canal

On arrival in Quito, immigration were very friendly and easy, although they did seem to give the Haitians a bit of a grilling. It wasn’t long before I was in the taxi with a driver who chatted to me in very slow Spanish the entire way to the hostel. Amazingly, I understood most of it and was even able to respond in my halting Spanish on occasion!

The hostel was quite disappointing after the reviews I had read, but I sat downstairs and chatted to people for quite some time in the evening. It seems to be a little outpost of the Empire, with most residents being from England or Canada.

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