Guatemala and Ecuador 6/30/16 - 7/20/16

Monday, 7/11/16 - Return to Guatemala

We left the house at 4:30 a.m. to go to the airport in Quito. The girls were very chilly and appreciated a cup of coffee/tea to warm them up. Rosa, Aida, and Rolando woke up at 4 a.m. to see us off, and Antonio rode to the airport with us.

The ride to Mariscal Sucre International Airport was very quick...we got there in about 90 minutes. When we checked in at the Avianca counter for our 9:40 a.m. flight to Bogota, we were told that they were moving us to a 10:55 flight, and that we should still make our connection. This seemed ok; it just meant we had more time to kill here.

We bought a couple of stuffed toys at the duty free store, and then sat for a while outside Johnny Rockets using the wifi. Shortly before 9:00, we got hungry and ordered breakfast from Johnny Rockets. (Pancakes for the girls and me, and an egg sandwich for Craig). While we were waiting for the food, Craig and the girls heard our names over the loudspeaker.

I went to find an agent, and she told us that we had been rebooked on the (original) earlier flight. They needed to change the tags on our luggage, and we would start boarding in 15 minutes.

Luckily, our food had just been delivered, and we ate quickly before heading to the gate. During the boarding process, we noticed that the folks across from us had left their cell phone charging while they boarded. We notified the crew who tracked them down. They were very grateful!

The flight was not full, so the girls sat on one side of the aisle and we sat on the other. Aracely made sure that her new stuffed toy, Wishful the Unicorn, paid full attention to the safety video and looked out the window during takeoff.

The girls were such old pros at flying now that they took out their headphone, plugged them in, and started watching the in-flight entertainment. This turned out to be a program about the restoration of the Taj Mahal - which we explained is right next to our dear friend Mukul's house. Mukul accompanied us to Panajachel to visit them in 2010).

The flight to Bogota was short. As we were exiting the plane, Vanesa took the opportunity to sit in first class for a fleeting moment. We exited the plane via an outdoor staircase and then took a bus to the terminal.

We were delighted to find out that the Bogota airport is called El Dorado! After a week of watching a movie about kids searching for the lost city of gold, we had found it! We had a short layover and then boarded our plane to Guatemala City.

Aracely wrapped up in her blanket and fell asleep. We are so proud of the girls for being so adaptable to travel!

We arrived at La Aurora International airport in Guatemala City 20 minutes early (3:40 p.m.) We got through immigration, baggage claim, and customs in record time, and met Humberto's driver Victor at the curb at 4:00.

There was a lot of traffic heading out of the city, and we saw a gorgeous sunset while on the road. We didn't arrive in Panajachel until 8:00 p.m. The whole family came out to the street to greet us. It was a lovely reunion.

The girls had many stories to tell, and were talking a million miles an hour during a dinner of huevos rancheros and black beans. After dinner, Aracely showed her family the video of "El Pastorcito de Otavalo Buscando El Dorado," and they enjoyed it very much.

By 10:30 p.m., we were exhausted and needed to go to bed.

It was such a amazing trip, and we are honored to have been able to take the girls on their first international adventure! The girls were great travelers and guests. Not only did Vanesa help Rosa with cooking and cleaning, but she was also a big help to Craig when we were out and about walking around. Because we wanted to show the girls the sights, we did more walking than usual. Especially yesterday at the waterfall, which had steep, uneven stairs. She held his arm and helped him to climb up and down, which he really appreciated. And Aracely was a big help translating for us!

The hallmark of a good trip is when you want to come back, and both girls said last night "when you bring our sisters, we can come too, right?" So proud of our international traveling girls!

Aracely and Vanesa's Trip to Ecuador
Video by Steph and Craig
Music: "Hang On, St. Christopher" by Tom Waits
Pre-dawn van to the Quito airport

Pre-dawn van to the Quito airport

Flight from Quito to Bogota

Flight from Quito to Bogota

Watching Pastorcito with the Family

Watching Pastorcito with the Family

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