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From Montreal to Ecuador via JFK

It was one LONG haul from Montreal to my final destination in Ecuador, Cuenca. I had been quite worried about customs in the US, so had carefully planned to fly direct from Montreal to JFK adding at least four extra hours for hold ups at JFK to allow for US Customs eventualities. So what a surprise when I did not have to clear customs at JFK at all. It turned out that Canada has an arrangement with the US Customs at the Montreal Pierre Trudeau Airport where we clear US customs direct before boarding our flight to the US in Canada, instead of after disembarking in the US. So found myself at the baggage carousel at JFK Airport probably within 15 minutes of disembarking at JFK, and a further surprise when my bags had already been available with not a second wait. Couldn't believe how easy it was to find my terminal as well. I only had to ask once, and then discovered that JFK had a Metro style transportation system called AirTrain. There were sign posts every where to get to the terminal. In the end I must have reached Terminal 8 within 30 minutes of disembarking my Delta flight at JFK (Terminal 2). Challenge however was that I then had 12 hours waiting time before the flight was due to depart. And in a Terminal that was very ill equipped with restaurants, book shops, etc.

LAN Ecuador Airlines is definitely to be recommended, turned out to be a great airline from booking through to flight. They have a non-stop flight from New York to Quito with a compulsory customs stop in Guayaquil. Flight was absolutely punctual. Interesting peculiarity is the large number of Ecuadorians who required wheel chair assistance. Apparently it is their way of creating their own luxury travel. While we were waiting at the gate, there were these enormous number of stacked folded wheel chairs waiting on the side. Was quite hilarious to watch. Also how small the Ecuadorians were as well. I enjoyed flying with them though. Our first port of entry was Guayaquil, where we had to disembark and clear customs first. Then next stop after that was Quito, and another 12 hour wait for my connection to Cuenca. Just took one look at the lack of facilities at the domestic departure hall, and then decided to check in at the Holiday Inn for 10 hours rest and recreation. Turned out to be a great idea, as towards end of day there were huge thunder storms and our flight to Cuenca was delayed for two hours. Another reason that this turned out to be a great idea was Quito's altitude of 2800 metres above sea level. I had been worried how I would be affected by the altitude, and perhaps this initial dead sleep of seven hours immediately after arriving in Quito could have helped, as had zero effects of altitude discomfort during my three week stay in Ecuador.

Arrived at Cuenca two hours late, which meant I missed the transportation I had arranged in advance, but all of it worked out in the end. I lucked out with finding someone who could understand some English and then helped locate a taxi for me. I had fortunately booked a familiar Hotel, so was not too difficult for the taxi driver to find it. I was checked in by 10:00 p.m. I had finally arrived at my destination.

3 blog comments below

Wow Dean,
Nice flashback! laugh
standready on Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:03 am
darn double post! no way to delete so edit
standready on Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:03 am
Right. I thought I needed this to refer back to one day in the dizzy future. Next Blog posts will be photos in Ecuador. Have quite a large number of them to post.
deanhills on Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:17 am

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