Sunday, January 6, 2019
We flew from Minneapolis to Quito, Ecuador today, the first leg in another voyage of discovery. We will spend a few days in Quito, then head to the cloud forest area of Ecuador. After that, we head to the Galápagos, then the upper Amazon of Peru, and finally the Lake Titicaca area. We’re excited about the opportunity to see so many birds, butterflies and other animals in their natural habitat. I’m personally excited to sample the chocolate for which Ecuador is known. Then there are the textiles and jewelry to investigate.
As usual, the worst part is getting through the airport. The security lines at MSP were horrendous, even the Precheck lines. I’ve read that some TSA agents are calling in sick during the government shutdown. Some are working other jobs during the shutdown so they can pay their bills. Can’t say that I blame them. Granted, they will be paid after the shutdown is over, but that doesn’t put food on the table today!
When we checked our bags, we noticed that the door flaps over the conveyor belt was covered with baggage tags (the ones that are adhered to the side or top of your suitcase). I wondered if that is the reason why some bags get lost.
I found an article that actually explains the entire baggage handling process: “How Baggage Handling Works” on the website HowStuffWorks. I won’t explain the process here (although I did find it fascinating), but I will say that I feel more confident about the effectiveness of the whole baggage handling process.
When we did reach security, my backpack had to be x-rayed three times! After the second time, the agent put it in a different bin. How can a different bin make a difference??? But it did. I think it’s time for us to look into CLEAR.
Everything was smooth after that. We arrived in Quito a little after 11pm, and at our hotel shortly after midnight.
We are staying at Casa Gangotena, a beautiful hotel with only 31 rooms, and located in the heart of the city, across from San Francisco Convent and Plaza. The building was a mansion owned by the Gangotena family. It was purchased in 2000 by Metropolitan Touring, who converted it to a boutique hotel. The building is included in Quito’s cultural heritage inventory.