How many suitcase can you fit in a Tracker?
The best laid plans are the most dangerous. We had conversed with Bryan and Becca who were from Denver and were expecting us to pick them up at the Quito Airport at 11pm on Thursday. We got the car into the garage to make sure that everything engine and below were up to snuff… we left in plenty of time to be there for their arrival. We never figured that we would miss one turn off and the Burma road that we needed to take to get back to the main road would be full of cement sewer squares that stuck up from the dirt about 18 inches and the Pilsner beer truck that was in front of us would hit one and buck until it pitched itself on it’s side in the middle of the road! We backed up and hit a few really deep holes in the road but got back to the start of the road without incident. Well, that is not exactly truth, we lost our headlights.
Yes, we only had lights if we were doing about 60 km per hour and going down hill. When we were going uphill we lost the lights. We stopped and tried to wiggle everything in the engine, had a few choice words for the mechanic that we paid $280.00 to for the suspension check, and the tires and engine go over.. but was he within shouting distance, no.
So the moon was bright, our route filled with good road and great street lights and we were lucky enough to get to the airport sans police.
We picked up our newest group of Ecuadorian retiree wannabes and explained the situation. They were good enough to listen and hear us out and decided that we would chance the pull over, all they wanted was to get out and away from the airport and start their journey. We stuffed all the bags in and put one on top and away we went.
Remember that many of these newbies never have been out of the United States, so to travel at night, your imagination takes over on what you are seeing pass by in the towns you go through.
The Quito Airport is way out of town, and I mean way out of town and is just beginning to have gas stations and stores on the route, it takes a good one and a half hours in no traffic and a lot more in traffic to reach it. We travel down the mountains to the airport and into the mountains when you come back, so at night you can be in the clouds with a hit and miss view of barrios and small tiendas. You really start thinking, where did I come to and what did I get myself into. I know because I too had these thoughts as we raced through red lights and booked through towns in the cloud cover that engulfed them when we were arriving for our retirement. I saw graffiti and walls and gates and wondered where all the beautiful scenery went that I saw on the blogs and on the internet that promised idilic retirement and stress free living.
We assured them that there are good and bad sections, we assured them that they would learn just like we did and mentioned that we were almost at the end of the trip.
Just then we rounded a circle at the local mall (about 7 kilometers from home), there were about 8 cars pulled over by the police and we lost our lights again. We too got the high sign by the policeman that was standing next to a car to please pull over, and Juan our partner decided to floor it and pretend like the police man was waving hello.
My heart was in my throat, I immediately got sweaty hands along with a very dry mouth, when Juan said, “This is Ecuador, they will not do anything, they will just tell us to put on our lights.” Well, I was not going to tell him to go back and prove that statement, so he kept driving and I kept making stomach acid. I spent the time looking in the rear view mirror with the word, “Tranquillo, Denise” from Juan in my ears.
I kept looking at Becca and Bryan wondering if they would ever believe us that we did have all their best interests in mind all week before they arrived, or that we had the car to the mechanic, or that we weren’t some fly by night organization. In the end it really didn’t matter, they arrived safe and sound as we did with an adventurous beginning and a whopper of a story to tell and retell about their arrival in Ecuador, what more could you ask for?