Maya fell asleep on the floor of the Miami airport. Our gate changed and when it was finally time to board the plane, I could not wake her up, and ultimately had to pick her up by the legs and drag her for a bit. It is disappointing that I cannot carry her anymore; she has always been a great traveller and it was easy when she could rest in my arms.
Our twelve hours in the airport were not horrible. At first we walked the length of the U shaped departures terminals to find our airline counter. It was not to open until 5 PM, so we checked out the various eating establishments, finally settling on a food court where Maya could eat a Caesar's salad and I could inhale my favourite doppio espresso macchiato with extra foam. The 'Mindworks' toystore was next, where Maya found a yapping electronic dog and a meowing cat, both affordable for $12.99, but in the end not essential to her existence. We parked ourselves and our four huge duffel bags in the Borders bookshop, where I debated buying a book on South American History but got side-tracked by a book abut the exploitation of South America, the one which Chavez gave Obama when they met. Maya was comfortably molded into a leather armchair reading the fifth Harry Potter book. Suddenly it was close to 5 PM when our counter would be opening, so I discovered a giftcard form Borders in my purse and purchased my book. I offered to buy a book for Maya but once again she decided it was not essential.
We checked in and were happy with our seats but disappointed that our flight was leaving a few hours late. Security was our next gauntlet, where I misplaced my jacket with my cellphone in it and panicked again, sure that someone had mistakenly left with it. I blamed the security personnel for not taking care of things and embarrassed Maya (she told me to chill). But it was found and we were off to our gate. Maya was perfectly content to watch another episode of StarWars while I read my book. Our waiting area gradually filled up with Ecuadorians, all who seemed to be very patient and relaxed with the one hour then two hour, three hour and then four hour wait. It was so cold waiting and I ordered the hottest chocolate to warm up. By the time we started moving again to find food, the restaurants and shops were closed and Maya ate a small bowl of fruit for dinner. I found a bag of nuts in my purse. For once I bought nothing at the duty free shop, which is entirely new and unusual behaviour for me.
Maya fell asleep while I struggled with the internet provider (they kept denying my credit card and I kept putting in another until I was charged several times for the same hour of service. All I had time for was to make an effort to contact the provider to reverse the charges. When our plane was boarding I was unable to awaken Maya, so I dragged her by the legs until she wok up and promptly fell back asleep once in the plane. We missed dinner, drinks and immigration papers. Our landing in Guayaquil was uneventful and we landed in Quito at 4:30 AM.
Without our immigration papers, we were sent to the back of the line to fill out forms. We were literally the last people through to the baggage claim, where we found two out of four bags ripped open and the contents pouring out. We looked pathetic wandering through to the entrance of the building with no one to meet us. The taxi drivers tried to convince us to go to a hotel. I called Eric on my iphone which offended him because it costs a few dollars a minute, but he was able to contact Erika, who came around 5. What a sorry sight we were alone in the cold morning with our broken bags and exhausted faces. We fell asleep before 7, 24 hours after we started this journey.