And so it begins, 22 hours and 3 flights later I have landed in Quito Ecuador! I have never possessed the ability to sleep on planes but for some reason my body decided to change its chemistry and I slept the 6 hour duration of my last flight and I feel pretty good coming off the plane except for the fact that I cant breath. Elevation in Quito is around 12,000 ft… so just a little higher than home. Met some nice people on the plane who walked me through elevation sickness and that I should take it pretty easy the first few days (That didn’t happen). Customs in Ecuador was the best experience I have ever had and the guy barely blinked at my partially filled form and swept me through to freedom. Upon exiting security I was met by a mass of people holding signs for arriving visitors, however none of the signs held my name. Upon seeing that I sat on the ground by a pillar amidst the sea of happy family reunions, tired tourists and peacefully ate half a quiznos sandwich I had packed in my bag.
For the next hour I sat and took it all in while I waited for someone to arrive with my name on a sign. In that time I learned something about Ecuadorian culture, people here are amazingly nice. Now that cant be said for all of course as is any place, yet I saw an unreal amount of positive, happy interactions. I also perplexed about 10 Ecuadorian greeters who saw me sitting against my pillar and thought for sure I must be the name on their sign. I got used to explaining that as much as I wished it was my name on their sign, I simply wasn’t Ruth Blandine. Then I saw it, “Eli Cox” written in all caps. I got up and quickly introduced myself to Franklin, (the man holding the sign) as much as I enjoyed my airport time, I was ready to make way for life outside the automatic doors.