Let’s see, where to begin?
I slept well, and woke up naturally before my alarm. The buffet at the hotel was wonderful, and I had a nice bowl of yogurt and granola along with an egg. There was plenty more offered – small empanadas, pancakes, sausage, cereal, various fruit juices, even ceviche! I tried some coffee as well, and it was tasty. I was a little full from breakfast, but I knew we had a big day ahead of us.
We got to the airport around 9am, and the process of bag inspection was quick, though a bit hectic at times. The first round of inspections was for any food items, and I had to show the security guard my Clif bars and maple candies. While searching through my bag, the guard pulled out a Ziploc full of tampons and examined it quizzically. ”What is this?” he asked. “Not candy,” I said with a smile while shoving it to the bottom of the duffle.
Once through security, our group settled down at the gate and Sara collected our lunch and dinner orders for the next few days. Of course, it was a process in itself to find the menu options, since Sara couldn’t access her email due to forgetting her password. Fortunately Laura is well versed in password recovery, and Sara was grateful. So far we’re getting along swimmingly, and she was delighted to know that I’m Kelsey’s friend.
Discussing food quickly turned into a lesson on where the islanders get their meat. “Try not to eat tuna every day,” Sara warned us. She also informed us that that the chicken was probably subjected to antibiotic treatment, and the fish was probably farmed. The beef, however, would be mostly local and the equivalent of organic beef in the US. With this in mind, I concluded that beef was actually the most ethical and healthy choice of the offered meats, and confirmed my suspicions that I’ll be eating a fair amount of beef on this trip.
With our meals taken care of, I shifted my focus to another basic need: water. I was anxious about water last night and this morning, after realizing that I couldn’t just fill my bottle up anywhere. I kept my eyes peeled for bottled water, and found an airport café that sold it for just over a dollar. I bought three bottles and used two to fill up my. It’s amazing how much that small purchase calmed my nerves.
I got in touch with my host mom last night, and we’ve been messaging a bit on Facebook. She seems genuinely excited for me to arrive, and I’m equally excited. I already warned her that my Spanish is limited, but she happily replied that I’ll learn while on the island.
On that subject, I’ve already used more Spanish today than I have in a long time – and it’s only 11:40am. Simply saying “Gracias” opens the door to using longer expressions, and I’ve been constantly trying to put phrases together in my head. It’s coming back a little bit, but I’m still rusty. Still, I’m trying. What a change from last night, when I was too shy to try and use Spanish while chatting with the woman (who also spoke English) next to me on the plane.
I’m pleasantly surprised so far by everything I’ve experienced. I had heard that Guayaquil isn’t the safest city, and didn’t know what to expect for this leg of the trip. The hotel was beautiful, everyone that I’ve met has been helpful and patient, and we’ve had no trouble at all in the airports.