1-11-2013 Day 7 Manta, Ecuador

A reminder to anyone reading my Blog.  If you click on any of the pictures in the text, they will be enlarged for better viewing.

This morning the ship docked in Manta.  We had been here before, so it was a great place for us to launch our independent travel to Cuzco and Machu Picchu.  Through our travel agent, we had booked this private tour for just the two of us with Lima Tours. 

Today was mainly just a travel day.  We were picked up by our Lima Tour representative and taken to the airport.  It was about a thirty minute drive.  Along the way, I took this picture of some of their policemen riding in the back of a pickup. P1000848 One was packing some kind of automatic machine gun.  Makes you wonder why he’d be in the back of a pickup with that kind of gun strapped across his chest!

We then boarded our plane for Quito, Ecuador.   The name of the airline was Tame.  It was a really nice airliner that served beverages and snacks – for free!  It was only an hour’s flight to Quito.   We were met by another Lima Tour representative at the airport who literally just walked us to the next gate area.  And unlike the other “greeters” meeting people with their handwritten signs, out agent had our names on his IPad. 

We had about a four hour layover in Quito.  We were able to connect to the Internet and catch up on e-mails, etc. from the airport café.  Then just before getting ready to board, for the first time in my life, my name was called over the loud speaker to come to the agent’s desk at the gate.  They were doing a “routine” baggage check and wanted to check my bag, but couldn’t get into it because of my lock.  Doug went with me as we were escorted outside where we met more security agents who led us to my luggage.  After opening it and getting the “OK,” we were then escorted back inside through a different entrance where we had to be scanned all over again.  With all this, they allow you to carry on liquid beverages!  Travel is so interesting!

The plane we took from Quito to Lima was Taca Airlines.  It too wasP1000852 very nice – somewhat roomy with comfortable seats.  It was about a 2 1/2 hour flight.  They even served a complimentary hot meal with beverage choices that included two kinds of wine.  Wish our airlines were as generous with the extra amenities. 

Upon our arrival in Lima around 9 p.m. we were once again met by a Lima Tour representative and taken to our hotel, the Costa del Sol (a Ramada hotel) that was across the street from the airport. He literally rolled the airport’s luggage cart to the hotel.  It was closer than taking it to cars in the parking lot.  We felt a little silly having an agent “hold our hand” for such a short transfer!   The hotel was very nice, and we were given free pisco sours upon our arrival.  It was not hard to fall asleep after that – even without a towel animal on our bed.

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