Sandy – All life offers to us is opportunity and so we, grandmother and grandson, seized the opportunity granted to us and left for the Philadelphia Airport early in the morning in the pouring rain for a flight to Miami. We arrived safely in Miami, tropically hot, and headed onto Quito – late, dark, cold and high at about 9,000 feet. Customs was easy. A cab delivered us to the Hotel Eugenia on Diego de Almagro Street. The hotel was small, clean and fine for an overnight stay. We were hungry but the dining room had closed. Breakfast was to be served at 7 AM but we were being picked-up at 6 AM. Although we were travel weary, I was so grateful to be spending 10 days with Leif. I hoped that God would bless us and keep us safe. Estoy feliz.
Leif – Philadelphia, PA to Miami, FL. Our flight boarded on schedule but we sat on the tarmac for nearly 50 minutes before take-off. Guided by our excellent pilot, our flight was quick and relaxing despite minor turbulence soon after our 10:35 AM departure. With a smooth landing in Miami 2 ½ hours later, we began a 3 hour lay-over. We spent this time getting our boarding passes for the 1,800 mile trip to Quito, Ecuador, eating our lunch, passing back through security and, of course, waiting on board. That short waiting period was painless due to our full stomachs and the excitement brewing around the final World Cup broadcast (which we later found out was won by Spain). The flight from Miami to Ecuador on LAN* did not cease to impress me. The abundant numbers of flight attendants were there to meet every passenger's requests. They provided a fresh pillow and blanket, as well as new earphones to watch our personal televisions, and a hot chicken or beef meal with complementary wine. The flight was long but quite comfortable. Afterward, our taxi ride to the Hotel Eugenia was filled with soft Latino music and occasional car horns. As I lay on one of two single beds in our hotel room recapping the events of our first day of travel, I began to think about the extraordinary adventure that was to begin to unfold in the morning. I laid down my pen and got some necessary sleep.