Revolution in Quito, Ecuador

Revolution in Quito, Ecuador

On one of my earliest travels I  visited South America.  A shore excursion off the luxury ship involved a short flight to Quito and a visit to the equator.  The day was beautiful and Quito a colonial city.  But as we landed the airport was filled with teenagers in uniform holding automatic weapons.  The city was restless with the failure of the banking system.  Our visit to the center of the city was cancelled and instead we dined on the outskirts.  I could hear gunshots in the distance and smell the burning tires.  After lunch we coached to the equator and I stood with one foot in each hemisphere.  The shopping was fun, many booths were filled with handmade goods and textiles.  The vendors were anxious for the dollar.  The return trip to the airport was hazardous.  An armed guard traveled in the coach with us.  The route to the airport was improvised.  The roads were blocked.  The driver cut across an athletic field.  Once at the airport, we were ushered into a holding room of sorts.  Armed guards were stationed at the doors.  Planes were leaving.  The TV was blaring.  I joked.  “That plane is the president.  The next one is his family.  The following one is the treasury.  Oh, there goes our plane.”   Our plane was taken by the escaping regime.  Finally we were escorted to a hangar where two Lear jets were resting.  There was yellow tape indicating the property of the Drug Enforcement Administration.  We boarded the jets and flew back to the coast, late for the sailing of our vessel.  They had waited for us.  We were greeted with a band and champagne and were the talk of the journey.  I found it stimulating.