Return to Ecuador – The Beginning

“Jackson, this is NOT our usual travel tote!”

“No it’s not.  Don’t complain.  We’re going to have a side trip by bus during our stay in Ecuador and the Ts need to have backpacks to bring on the bus.”

“Oh, where are we going, certainly not the Galapagos – you can’t get there by bus!’

“Nope, this time they plan an excursion to Saqusili and Cuenca.”

**********

“Copa Airlines – we’ve never flown on this carrier before Nilla.”

“No we haven’t.  Copa is a Colombian/Panama based airline and is part of the Star Alliance.”

“It’s stuffy in here, I wish they’d turn down the heat.”

“The flight is absolutely full – the holidays – no private seat for us!”

“What’s the delay Nilla?”

“Ice and snow on the aircraft – have to de-ice before take-off.”

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“We might miss our connecting flight in Panama City.”

“Have to wait and see Jackson!  Get some sleep – it’ll make the time fly, no pun intended.”

“It says we can’t sit in this row Nilla – ‘no children allowed’.

“Come on Jackson – the Ts call us ‘The Kids’ but we’re not really kids!”

**********

“If we deplane quickly we’ll make the connection Jackson.”

“Where’s the gate?  Why isn’t anyone here to help us?”

“Over there – they’re calling the Ts – last boarding!!!”

“Phew that was close!  Do you think the luggage made it?”

“We’ll find out in Quito.”

“It’s another stuffy plane and the people are stuffed in too Nilla.”

“No seat for us again – and I’m too tired to sleep.”

**************

“Nilla I don’t think our luggage has made it, most of the bags have already come down the conveyor and onto the carousel!”

“Jackson, here comes one now!”

“Onto customs and immigration and then onto Manta, we’re almost there.”

************

“Aren’t many people on this flight – thank goodness!  And it’s not stuffy either.  We haven’t flown on this carrier either Nilla.”

“Latam is part of the One World Alliance Jackson.  Ready for a short flight?”

“Absolutely!

*************

“Hey Marcelo is here to pick us up and take us to Ensenada del Pacifico!  He speaks English too.”

“Looks like they’ve begun construction on the new Manta airport.  Plans are to make it possible to fly to multiple destinations in country, not just Quito and even have some international flights.  Good for tourism Jackson.”

“It’s great to finally be here.  Tom’s orientation is informative but we’ll have to get more instruction tomorrow, too tired.”

*************

“It’s just like I remember from our visit earlier this year!”

“Two full baths, a master bedroom, the Murphy bed/TV room, fully applianced kitchen, washer and dryer – and feel that breeze Jackson!”

“I doubt we’ll need to use the air conditioning much Nilla.”

“I need to get organized – all the kitchen stuff we brought and then we need to go shopping.”

“Don’t forget we have to apply for the Mi Comisariata discount card.”

“We’ll get one for sure.  Did you know Jackson that the Mi Comisariata supermarket chain began with a single store in Quito many years ago – then it was called ‘La Favorita’.”

“Sure has come along way, like many things in Ecuador, Nilla.”

************

Marcelo’s brother Christian takes us to Bahia to grocery shop.  We don’t find everything but there’s time to make a trip back.

“Look at that sunset Nilla!”

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“It’s beautiful Jackson.”

***********

“The Ts couldn’t find evaporated milk. At least they have the discount card now – no expiration date either.”

“What do we need evaporated milk for anyway?”

“To make New England fish chowder.”

“Can’t you use condensed milk instead?  And what are you going to do for fish?  There’s no haddock here!”

“No Jackson, you can’t use condensed milk in place of evaporated milk – condensed milk has sugar in it.  You can use evaporated milk for condensed milk and add sugar but no the other way around.  And for fish – I’m planning to use dorado.”

“Have you even made this before?”

“Nope, but as they say, there’s a first time for everything.  Besides the Ts are going out to eat at Viviana’s this evening – dorado is on the menu there.”

“How about the Christmas cookies?  They made it all the way from Greenfield, Massachusetts without getting crushed in the carry-on.”

“We’re not eating them before Christmas.  Besides we have decorations to put up!”

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*********************

 

“Got to get a Christmas bush Jackson.”

“Sure, there are no pine trees around here Nilla.”

“I didn’t say tree, I said bush Jackson.”

“Well, there aren’t any pine bushes around here either!”

“No, traditionally a naranjilla bush is cut – the leaves pulled off and then the bush is painted white before being decorated.”

“We’re doing that?”

“No we’re leaving that to the Ts.  Remember last year we decorated the palm tree in the back patio?”

“Yes that was before the palm weevil got to it!”

“It’s going to be different here Jackson.”

“I’ve already noticed how quiet it is – Crucita was much noisier.  Isn’t that where Aventurero is staying?”

“Yes he’s been here for about six weeks – we’ll catch up with him soon.”

“Look what the Ts found – it’s not a naranjilla bush but it will do nicely.

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“All we need now is a pot or a pail to put it it.  They’ll probably buy a pail when they go back to Viviana’s for dinner. Right now they’re going for their first walk on the beach – it’s approaching low tide.”

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“Look at that – what did I tell you – perfect for our bush!”

“Don’t fall in Nilla!”

“Don’t you either.”

“What are we going to decorate the tree with anyway?”

“You’ll just have to wait and see.”

“I suppose that’s the same to the question of what’s on the menu for Christmas Day besides cookies.”

“Well, it depends if the Ts find evaporated milk – might just do chowder and salad or chicken breast, rice and salad.  Depends on the shop tomorrow.”

“Another beautiful sunset and look at our lights Nilla.”

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“Nice job!”

************

“Ts couldn’t catch a cab, didn’t want to call one, to take them to Portoviejo to shop, so they took a bus and then a taxi back.”

“Good thing Jackson, they bought dorado and chicken breasts – so Christmas menu is not yet determined because……….”

“I know, they found evaporated milk!”

“Exactly!”

“It was too late to cook dinner and Viviana’s and Submarino resturants were closed so they tried Meier’s for the first time.”

“I know, and a good thing too.  They helped save a gecko that was stuck to fly paper, no one noticed it until they came along.”

“I hope the creature survives.”

“Time to go to sleep – we have a lot to do tomorrow.”

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