We have finally arrived in Quito!!!! It has been an unusually long day of travel. The alarm woke us up at 3:30 and we were out of the house 4 AM. Flying to Miami was uneventful, but we arrived by 8:30 with seven hours before our next flight. I decided that a trip to South Beach made sense. It was too early for the beautiful people to be about (they were sleeping off their nighttime activities), but it is a pleasant walk along the beach. The architecture is warm and inviting. I can understand why the place is so popular with tourists.
I enjoy Miami airport, with its disorganized chaos. We were lucky with security today. Usually I am in the line for over an hour, and we were warned not to arrive later than noon to make sure we would have enough time for the expected wait. Instead, we jut breezed through. We met several of he group members who were to be with us for the next ten days. They are friendly and excited about the trip.
It feels different to return to Quito. This place is to be home, and I just left Quito a month ago. Going through immigration, picking up our bags, Xraying our bags; everything feels familiar. I wonder if I recognize random people in the crowd and working at the various stations. i wonder if I remember the passport control person. Everything goes easily, no bags are lost, we fly through each step of the the process.
We are staying at the Hotel Quito Colon, which is the place I stayed when I visited Quito for the first time perhaps five years ago. It is a flashier hotel than I am accustomed to. The students stay at the Hotel Sierra Madre, which is smaller and quiet and quaint, but this is an altogether different sort of trip. When we take the students, our schedule is very tight and we are running constantly and sleeping very little; this trip is less intense and more casual, which I am truly looking forward to.
So this is home. It is so convenient that the dollar is the currency here. Eric warns me that Ecuador may give up the dollar which could be good for us, or not. It may destabilize the economy and the country. Is this advantageous for us and our year here or not? i am not sure. The weather is wonderful. it is clear and fresh. Apparently although it is the rainy season, it is not expected to rain. We are warned to bring several layers, that the weather will be changeable and very sunny and warm in the afternoon. We will take a city tour tomorrow and visit my favourite museum, the Banco Central, which has an amazing collection of pre-columbian art. I get lost in the museum, caught back in a time long ago in Ecuador. As our guide stated in the bus on the way from the airport, there have been Ecuadorian people here for 13,000 years.
The people look familiar. I wondered over and over at the airport whether I was just imagining that the faces were ones I had seen before. I am sure no-one recognized me. I am feeling more at home amongst the local people. I look so different and foreign, but this will be my home and I will be less and less a foreigner. I enjoy listening to the language. It is beautiful and lyrical and inviting. I almost feel ready to speak Spanish to everyone and leave English entirely out. Erika's boyfriend David met us at the airport. Again, I felt welcomed and part of this place. This will be the place we come home to.