Friday, July 1, 2016

Fly Me, Just Fly Me Already

I think I'll make it out of here but it ain't easy. Life these days — y'know?

It's the airport. The airport is still here but it's on vacation. It has problems so they said, "Hey — why not take a few off?"

Stories about the ultimate cause vary, but a couple of months ago a jet passenger plane did in fact slide sideways off the runway and come to a stop on the grass. Some say the root of the issue is that the runway was improperly resurfaced not too long ago. I don't know, but it needs work now.

The runway is apparently lumpy, with the problematic bits being the low-lying pockets that accumulate rainwater. Sky leaks rain, rain fills pockets, aircraft wheels hit waterpockets, hydroplaning happens, plane goes sideways, people get cranky.

The usual, except nobody hurt yet. Yet. But soon maybe (you never know), so they gotta do something. Until then the airport closes every time there is rain. At least too much rain, which is a judgment call. Even up to 10 minutes before you're due for a fine and tidy wheels-up situation you don't know if it's going to happen to you.

Reports vary.

Some say that half the recent flights in/out of here are not occurring. The story seems to be buy a ticket, show up, see what happens. If you make it into the sky, you're good. If the plane doesn't land, then you're on your own. No next flight, no bus, no refund, no nothin. So long, sucka.

I'm checking into the bus. Those who know say it's the way to go. Check. Eight bucks from Cuenca to Guayaquil in three hours. Versus maybe $80 to $100 bucks if you hire a private driver. Fifty bucks seems to be real steal deal lately but there are problems there too.

For years small companies have been driving vanloads of people back and forth, but that isn't legal for one reason or another. I guess they don't see the need of buying a license and insurance and all them other bothersome things.

One of the police forces has been stopping vans, confiscating them, and leaving six or eight gringos that were formerly inside standing by the side of the highway. I haven't heard anything about taxis, SUVs, regular autos full of traveling gringos, but I bet some of them get hammered to, special $50 rate or not.

Yeah, so if you take the bus you have a fairly high probability that someone will at least try to make off with your luggage. Keep it on your lap if you can, or at your feet, or sit on it. Never accept help from kindly strangers. Hope for the best.

One of these travel options will be mine, all mine, all too soon. All a part of the joy of living in paradise. (Eight bucks is really cheap, though.)

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