By January 4, the first snowstorm of the season had turned into a treacherous ice storm. We decided to spend the night in an airport hotel so we’d be sure to catch our 6:00 AM flight. No taxis available, not even Uber, so a friend drove us, slipping and sliding, to the Holiday Inn, where we spent a brief night. Next morning, our flight to Los Angeles was cancelled – no apology, explanation or friendly reroute. Once we reached Dallas on an alternative flight, our plane to Miami had already boarded and we had to sprint about 20 gates to make it as the doors were closing. In Miami, Cuban sandwiches and beers and a Cuban coffee restored us before a delayed flight to Guayaquil, where we arrived at 2:30 AM. With our bags! As we headed for customs, I looked with pity at the large crowd around the “lost luggage” window.
Enough of this January travel chaos! Two years ago, we were stuck in an east-coast storm that caused all our flights through DC and NYC to be delayed or cancelled. After an expensive night in a crummy motel near JFK, we arrived a day late. We’ve decided that next year we leave in November.
(OK, the macaws were on the wall of our room, painted by Lucia, the hostel owner.)
After breakfast and naps, we ventured out into the hot humid air for our ritual crab soup, crab ceviche, patacones and ice-cold beers in an open-air restaurant on the Malecon Salado, the seawater canal near our hostel. This has been our routine for years, and the place always reminds me of my mother, who came to visit when she was 87 and loved it. She bought a CD from the guy who was fake-playing his panpipe.
January 6: After another night in the hostel to recover, things move more smoothly. A good driver with a vehicle with seatbelts that work gets us to our gate in Cañar in a mere three hours. The house looks much as when we left it in July. This is the dry season, so the yard is scruffy, and inside the house is dusty and cob-webby, but this climate – dry and cool year-round – is kind to a house like ours, made of wood and mud and straw. Inside, the macho aloe lords it over the patio, bigger than ever, and I complain to Michael, as always, that it needs to be taken down to size. As always, he resists. And by the swallow-like birds that flit in and out (through an open space between glass and tile roofs), and seem to feel right at home, I suspect there is a nest or two hidden there.