guayaquilI am watching families and young couples strolling along the Malecón, which is a long, narrow park that runs alongside the Rio Guayas. You can see it in the picture on the right. It is across the street from the Hotel Ramada, where Trueda and I are staying. The Malecón is one of Guayaquil’s must-see features, but I have only seen it from my hotel room.

Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city, it’s only major port, and the commercial center of the country. It has a population of about two and a quarter million, and is a thoroughly modern city. It is also hot and humid. Fortunately, we are in a hotel that provides air conditioning.

We did not expect to find ourselves in Guayaquil. It was not on our vacation itinerary. In fact, our vacation itinerary was limited pretty much to Cuenca and a few surrounding artisan towns. That changed when Trueda’s altitude sickness became life-threatening. The doctor who examined her said, “Get her to the coast.” Moving to lower elevation is the standard cure for altitude sickness.

I spent several hours on the phone today getting our return flight changed from January 13 to January 5 (tomorrow). You would think this would be a straightforward task, but it turned out to be amazingly complicated. It was also amazingly expensive; aside from the penalties for changing our reservation, a flight booked twenty-four hours in advance is a whole lot more expensive than a flight booked three months in advance.

Anyway, we fly out tomorrow and will arrive in Seattle on Tuesday, with a ten-hour layover in New York and New Jersey in between. The latter probably requires some explanation. We fly into JFK, which is in New York, and out of Newark, which is in New Jersey. The sixteen mile taxi trip between the two will take upwards of ninety minutes. Really. The next time you hear me say I want to be a world traveler, just kick me in the shin.

So, we’re headed home. Vacation aborted. Things did not worked out the way we expected. It is ironic that I blogged about this in my previous post. We did, however, learn some things about ourselves and our limitations. I imagine we will discover other things we learned over the next few weeks as we reflect on our Ecuador adventure. I’m sure the cats will be happy to see us, and much lap time will be required of us to make up for our inexcusable absence.