We arrived at the Quito airport after midnight. While we were still in customs waiting for our bags, a woman approached us and suggested that we might want to stay in the airport: due to the protests, nobody was able to get into Quito, and that it was a challenge to even find a place to sleep.
Protests? What protests?
It turns out that we had indeed stepped into a little bit of civil unrest. Our tour company was having us picked up at the airport, and indeed, Aldo was there to meet us. He let us know that they’d moved us to a new hotel, that he had a bus and a driver to take us there, and that it might take us a little longer to get there than expected. We might see some burning tires, but everything would be fine.
He also asked us not to use any electronic devices, and to tell anyone who asked that we were missionaries. I started remembering what I could of the Bible.
Aldo led us to our bus, which was indeed a full-sized tour bus, all for the four of us. We loaded our baggage and headed off.
For about ten minutes. There the traffic stopped. Clearly, the protests were blocking our path. Aldo headed off to check on the situation. After a bit he came back, the bus turned around, and we headed back to the airport. He explained that they were going to use tear gas, and we didn’t want to be there. We didn’t disagree.
We hung out in the bus near the airport for a while. Aldo suggested that there was another way to get to the hotel: “the creepy road”. That didn’t sound great.
After hanging out in the bus for a while near the airport, we tried to make it again. Again, we didn’t get far. Again, we sat for a while. And again, we headed back to the airport. This time to take the creepy road.
By now, our new hotel had sent a smaller van to get us, which we transferred into. Our driver took us along a dirt road that snaked down the side of a large valley and then up the other side. I wouldn’t call it “creepy”, but it was a rough ride in the dark. At three in the morning, we finally arrived at the Rincón de Puembo.
And when we woke up in the morning, we discovered that it was, indeed, quite nice:
We never did see Quito, except from the airplane window, nor did we see the protests. And the rest of the trip was wonderful. Stay tuned.