Cutting to the chase, we made it just fine to Ecuador, landing in Quito pretty much on time and no problems in flight. I'm typing this post at our Bed & Breakfast, Ecuatreasures under a new wifi connection and a new password.
Many thanks to Joe and Susan Pahle (and Claire) for the ground transportation to LAX. Turns out that SkyWest Terminal 8 is reached via Terminal 7. Joe also went to the United check in kiosk with us and offered his kind assistance with the computerized touch screen check in screen system. I had never used one before, and would have figured it out in due time, but the extra eyes and ears were reassuring as we began our journey to Ecuador.
After Carolyn Anne had taken care of herself at the restroom, we continued on to the PreCheck TSA screening. I'm sure the staff there saw us as the comedy act of the week as I forgot to place my metal items in the bowl, and had to go through the process again due to the beep going off. I did just fine the second time. Carolyn Anne didn't exactly say "I've had total knee replacement surgery" in the clearest terms, and this resulted in much discussion between the TSA female wand screener and her. Then Carolyn Anne gave me her ticket before being allowed to pass screening, a big no no! That resulted in me getting screened via wand thoroughly. Live and learn. . . we did better with the TSA screeners in Houston with no problems.
All three United flights were safe and uneventful. The seats were large enough for me, and comfortable as far as airline seating goes. We got to our gates on time, and United Airlines runs a very credible operation overall, running on time, professional, and helpful too.
Once we got to Phoenix and Sky Harbor International Airport, we slept (as best we could) in the airport seating in the terminal. Nice airport, and clean, as all the airports we saw are. Loved the warm brown carpeting in Terminal 6. After takeoff we got to see a sunrise from altitude. . . pretty sight. God is at work each day giving us His handiwork and desert scenery from up above. After landing in Houston, we took a hotel shuttle to the Wingate by Wyndham hotel in Houston, and got about four hours of deep sleep. That was a Godsend, as we were tired from being up all day Saturday and the catnap sleeping in PHX.
Houston's IAH George Bush Intercontinental Airport is large, with long concourses. There's electric carts and drivers to shuttle you around this Texas sized airport. Livin' life large as airports go. . . and there's an abundance of shops and restaurant food, too incuding some Panda Express for Carolyn Anne and some Italian calzone offerings for me. Bottled water, too. You need it on the flights to stay hydrated. We also had our granola bars from Costco with us for food while in flight. The flight attendants commended fliers who did so. . . smart move, indeed.
More on a couple of folks we met enroute in flight, Barbara and Luis, in our next post. We're getting ready for our first desayuno, or breakfast right about now at 9:00 AM.
Postscript: it was a typical Ecuadorian breakfast, with one scrambled egg, ham, and toast with a jam from fruit you can't get in the States. . . tastes like plum quite a bit. The big thing different though, was the orange juice. It wasn't really orange juice at all! Hernan, our host, came by after we started breakfast to tell us the drink, very orange in color and very fresh, was in fact a tomato tree fruit. Could have fooled me. . . and I'm a lover of fresh orange juice. The fruit looks like a kiwi on the outside. Learning new things every day, which keeps one humble.