ECUADOR - South America

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The Ecuator near Quito

The Equator near Quito, Ecuador
Something for you GPS users out there

John on equator and center of the earth
Equator near Quito jan 03

On crossing the border into Ecuador there was a very pronounced transition to a far greener and lush countryside. We drove through mile after mile of banana plantations all practically owned by Bonita. Before reaching Quito which is at an altitude of some 8000 feet we had to go over yet another of those ever winding passes but this time as we climbed the fog on top was such that you could just about see 7 or 8 yards. It quickly dissipated as we descended however and on reaching Quito, again in rush hour traffic, I might add, we made out The Hotel Aerpuerto, directly opposite the airport itself as we needed to operate close to there in order to get our bikes air-freighted to Panama. The company we used were Delta Services which were very convenient to both the hotel and freight hanger. It has invariably been our experience with these companies that everything is no problem but that the reality is that promises all fall through. Having told us that they would fly out the bikes on Friday 31st. we were then informed, only after inquiring, that they were not now going out till Sunday as priority had been given to flowers for Valentineīs day. We had already bought tickets for Saturday so were not too pleased as it meant having to trust that the bikes would be put on the plane, a situation you donīt want to be in. Our next reservation involved the packing and we shudder to think of the condition the bikes would be in had we not insisted on being involved in their crating on the pallets. As it is they are merely strapped onto pallets which is never the ideal way to transport them. Leaving our faith with the gods then, having done all we could Bob and John flew directly to Panama while I decided to go to Bogota in Colombia for a day. As further example of the sort of unaccountability you can encounter I was informed that I did not need a visa, which would involve a five day wait, but that I would be allowed down town for the day while waiting for my forward flight to Panama City. On asking to be let down town, however not only was it not possible, but one ignorant individual wanted to confine me to a small room for the entire day until the flight was about to leave. Needless to say I blew my top with him and was released to the relative luxury of the transit lounge. I would also add that he was the exception to the rule as all the other officials and people I encountered there were very nice altogether. So it was that my day was spent in Colombia in an airport lounge but with these situations you have to learn to dissipate them by occupying your time with something else and thus turning them into something constructive. I spent the day, therefore catching up on writing cards to friends while on T.V. the tragic news of the space shuttle disaster broke the irony of which on hearing it there struck me.

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