Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ahhh...the ecstacy of confusion!!

El Salvador

San Jose, Costa Rica

Quito, capital of Ecuador
I departed LAX at 12AM this morning, I was pleasantly surprised by the ambiance in the airport; I had expected legions of chiquely dressed, coiffed patrons, but that was not the case.  Most people were down to earth and friendly.
I have since passed through El Salvador, my first time back in 15 years and such a beautiful country; I would like to do some volunteering there so that I may get to know the place better.  When I first visited El Salvador in 1995, the country was still stabilizing from the social unrest during the Reagan years, and the Native Central American Indians were in the process of benefiting from a government land-for-farming program.  On that trip, I remember the expensive haciendas ringed with date palms and dotted with swimming pools that lined the Pacific Ocean, and just one mile inland were the shanty towns and tar paper shacks; today the haciendas are still there but the shanty towns have been replaced with farms and spacious bungalows.  I hope that the Native Americans did truly benefit.

Through Costa Rica (I could SMELL the coffee beans!), and then, Quito. Quito is a sprawling city situated between mountains and farmland, and is a 6 hour bus ride from the Amazon forest.  I will be returning to Quito after my time in Lima to volunteer for Jatun Sacha, and I plan on exploring the old city.  The departures gate at the Quito airport spits you straight onto the street much like Rachel Carson's little mackeral were spit from the harbor to the sea, and you are faced with throngs of locals waving signs and endearing you to take their taxis.  Too friendly; move fast and don't make eye contact!  But yes, they are very friendly here and I feel comfortable.  I have just finished waiting for two hours in the International departures terminal, a cavernous but clean place yet I was supposed to be checking in at the domestic terminal since my next stop is Guayquil Ecuador!  Takes me back to my earlier days of travel when I didn't know what the ... I was doing.
All is well, I am checked all the way to Lima and waiting to board my plane.  I will be in Lima at 9:13 tonight (Lima time), and I am hoping that the ORCAS Peru crew will be waiting for me!
Pictures to follow.

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