Trip report

In my normal fashion, this will be long winded because that’s my nature…it’s one of those teaching old dogs new tricks problems. I also don’t have a lot of editing time to be brief and I apologize in advance for my verbosity. Please, feel free to stop reading at any moment but also, please, to those who want to criticize for the fun of it, maybe you could just stop reading instead?

So, we made another long trip from Cuenca to Guayaquil to Fort Lauderdale to Dallas and I thought some might be interested in how things are going in terms of airlines, covid test and vaccinations.

The way we do this trip it’s a bit over 24 hours from the moment we leave Cuenca on Saturday, March 27, to the time we land at DFW in Dallas. It begins when the van picks us up at 11 AM at the house. This time, we rented the entire van at a cost of $80. The last trip from Cuenca to Guayaquil we had used Opera Azuay and it wasn’t much fun riding with a full van, no AC and also, it seemed, no suspension. Sherry actually got sick about halfway thru the Cajas. So, no more full van rides for us.

After a nice almuerzo at a place our driver suggested, we arrived at the airport around 4 PM to catch a flight that leaves for Fort Lauderdale at 12:10 AM Sunday morning. We’ve decided the long wait is better than a trip thru the Cajas at night. But it’s still, a long wait.

Speaking of our driver on this trip, that’s a bit of good news. His name is Marco Maxi and we will be using him from now on. Marco lived in the USA for many years. His English is great and his driving is even better. Best trip ever. And as some of you know, we do this a lot so when I say best trip ever, I don’t use those words lightly.

Marco’s number is 98 296 0393 and I couldn’t make a stronger recommendation. There are a lot of good drivers. We’ve used many of them. But this guy is really a step above.

We landed in Flordia with a little over an hour to claim our luggage, get thru customs and hurry to the gate for the connecting flight. Actually made it with about 15 minutes to spare which is just enough of a rush to make you nervous and get your blood flowing.

Since we do this trip so much, you would think flying wouldn’t bother me. But it does. These flights, like all those before them, were perfect. Of course, my standards might be a bit low in thinking that any flight I walk away from is perfect.

After all these trips I finally qualified for Gold membership with Spirit and I get one free carry on, one free checked bag, one personal item and believe it or not, a free drink and snack. We used miles on this trip and the total cost for the two of us, not including bags on the return trip, was about $600 using points and cash. At that price, the time it takes is worth it to us including that it takes the same 24 hours to get back after a 9-hour layover in Fort Lauderdale and another 4-hour ride from Guayaquil to Cuenca.

We love Spirit. On the long international flights. we buy the big up front leather seats and on the FL to DFW and DFW to FL legs, we get exit rows at no cost so it’s not too bad. I also love that Spirit flies nothing but the Airbus A320 series. I know it’s probably not true, but the fact that they only fly one type of aircraft feels like a good idea from a safety perspective.

Anyway, we land in Dallas, get the rental car and head to my sister-in-law’s where we see our kids and grandkids for the first time in a month. Some of you know that Hannah, our seven-yea-old granddaughter, lived with us in Cuenca for 4 years and that’s the reason we make these trips as often as we can. Now, she has a 3-year-old little brother, Logan, and he’s just another reason to want to be in Dallas as much as we can no matter how much we love Cuenca.

Since I have a “job” and an office to go to in Dallas, I always get tested for Covid at CVS as soon as we get here. My test was at 3 PM on Sunday and I got the results back at 9 AM on Tuesday. Negative again. Thank you, Lord. By the way, the test is free and yes, just to be safe, we will repeat the process before we head back on May 5.

We also had an appointment to get the first Covid Vaccine shot on Thursday, April 1 in a small city just south of Dallas, Corsicana. Sherry and I both had the shot with little or no side effects. A bit of soreness, a bit of fatigue, but no fever, chills, nausea etc. And to be honest, these symptoms could have just been a combination of a rough trip plus old age. Like they say, Growing Old Aint For Sissies. I will be 70 in August and Sherry will be 71 in September, so, I guess we qualify. And yes, I consider myself a “boy toy” married to an older woman…I decided 11 months is the cuttoff…barely made it…:).

We get the second shot on April 29, Moderna is the vaccine by the way. In terms of, does it work and was it/is it a good idea? I don’t know but it seemed like the right decision for us. To get vaccinated or not is a tough question and it’s something that’s very personal. Leaving the political aspects aside, the science seems to slightly lean in the direction of yes…for us. Making these trips every month and the cost of getting tested in Cuenca for the flight up is expensive and now, we won’t have to do that again…we hope.

Anyway, that’s the first half of the trip. We head back on May 5th. I think this will be the last trip of the summer. Airfares are going up. Customs might be changing the rules and on top of all that, I have quite a bit of dental work that I am not looking forward to but has to be done.

Speaking dental work. We also found a great dentist, Daniela Ordonez. She speaks English, seems to really know her business and it doesn’t “hurt” that she’s beautiful so I can pretend when she’s hurting me, that I don’t mind as much…:). Her number is 098 718 2083

Hope everyone is doing well. We will see many of you soon.

Thanks,

Steve and Sherry: stevef@grayshoring.com 095 927 9375. Call after: 9 AM.

City: Cuenca

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