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Goodbye to Ecuador

Guayaquil


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I had pictured myself having a nice relaxed time at the airport before my final flight out of Ecuador, but it didn't work out like that at all! I had no time at all to browse through duty-free or have a drink at a café in the boarding area, which is what I had wanted to do. Instead I had a very stressful time of it, as I will expand on below!

Just before I left the flat I realised I still had a tin of fruit cocktail left, so I took it with me to the airport. As soon as I'd checked in my big case I had the fruit salad and checked the Republica del Cacao t-shirts (they didn't have any fitted ones so I didn't buy one) before going through to passport control. As soon as I saw the massive queue I regretted the time I'd spent eating fruit salad because I only had an hour left before take-off. I felt increasingly agitated as I waited because I heard my name being called, telling me to identify myself to someone at Gate 10... the queue was going so slowly and every five minutes my name was being called, along with those of three others. The first official looking person I ambushed told me I still had to wait my turn at passport control despite what the intercom voice had said, so I carried on waiting, feeling even more agitated as the minutes ticked by. I was so afraid I'd miss my flight! Finally another couple ambushed an official close by me, saying their names were being called, so I jumped in too. This official let us jump the queue and go straight to a passport control person.

After getting my passport stamped I had to queue for the baggage x-ray; there were two officials checking passports in the queue and when they got to mine they asked how many days - I assumed they meant how many days I'd been in Ecuador, though I wasn't sure if they meant overall or just since the last time I´d left and come back. The woman seemed impatient and when I said "a year and two months" she just repeated "how many days?", and when I said, flustered, "um, about 420, 430?", she made me go into a little separate room to have my hand luggage checked. The guy took his time doing it. Every couple of minutes my name was still being called, until eventually it stopped. Then one of the onlooking officials said something about my rucksack being checked - I thought he meant I'd have to go back and check it in as hold luggage, so I said "but I haven't got time to do that! My name is being called!" - to which he didn't make any reaction. They let me go as soon as I'd said it though and I just carried straight on to the x-ray and put my stuff through OK.

As soon as my stuff came out from the x-ray I didn't have time to do up my bootlaces so I ran through duty-free and along to Gate 10 with them still untied. I arrived at the gate out of breath and extremely flustered looking, only to be told by the official there that I had to go downstairs because my bags had been identified as a security risk! I said in English "but my flight...!" and luckily for my state of mind the woman said not to worry, that the flight would not be leaving without me.

So in a relieved and more relaxed state of mind, I went downstairs to what turned out to be where suspect hold luggage is put aside and searched before being put on the plane. My big case was hauled out and then searched in front of me. There was a couple next to me having their bags searched too - the woman started shouting about it, which I mentally shook my head about because after all it wasn't the baggage searcher's fault. Not that I would start shouting even if it was her fault, of course. The guy who searched my bag was very nice and did a rather cursory search before saying that everything was fine.

When I checked the time as I sat down on the plane it was 18.16, a minute after we were supposed to have departed. We set off within 30 minutes. The sun was setting as we left Guayaquil. I felt excited about the fact I'd be back in the UK again soon and to be spending time in Madrid before that, but I did also feel sad to be leaving my wonderful Ecuador, a country that had been so kind to me. I will definitely return!

Posted by 3Traveller 04:25 Archived in Ecuador Tagged airport ecuador guayaquil

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