I’m video-chatting with my brother Jake last night when he casually drops this bomb.
“Hey Ray, you know there can sometimes be some…fog issues here, right?”
Um, no, Jay. I actually was not aware of that. Thanks for letting me know after I booked that roundtrip, non-refundable flight.
A quick Google search for “Quito” and “fog” (I refrained from adding the search term “disaster”) yielded a blog post eerily similar to the ones I wrote, just a few months ago, about India.
“The flight into Quito was the wildest I have ever been on,” an author by the name of Slim Wilbery writes.
OK, wild isn’t necessarily…bad. Sometimes wild is fun, like on a roller-coaster!
Have I mentioned I despise roller-coasters?
“After holding in the air for 30 minutes, we received clearance to land in Quito. As we descended, the window showed a scene of clouds, then fog, then more fog. When we finally broke through the fog, the city was startlingly close below. So much so, that the pilot abruptly jerked the plane up, let it fall, jerked it up again, let it fall again, then pulled us out of there and back into the sky. I could not see in front of the plane, but judging from the pilot’s reaction, I imagined that when we broke through the fog, the runway was either not where we expected it (if there at all) or not as long as we expected it.”
This has actually happened to me once before, while landing in Florida, I think. And yeah, everyone vomited. But we all survived! And made it to Disney! No biggie.
“I later learned from a flight attendant that the Quito airport is one of the most difficult international airports in the world to land in due to weather, altitude, obstacles (the runway might be the only flat surface in the city), and the length of runway, which is short and in the heart of the city.”
Um, ok. I’ll acknowledge that that’s not ideal.
But, I mean, at least they landed, right? RIGHT?
“After holding for another 30 minutes, we diverted to Guayaquil, an industrial city on the coast.”
Oh god. I know all about diversions. The plane that was supposed to take me home from Delhi got diverted to some random Northern Indian city I had never heard of. And then we had a 16-hour delay.
But stuff like that doesn’t happen in the Western Hemisphere, right?
“Continental took great care of us and put us up in a comfortable hotel.”
OK, apparently it does. And somehow I suspect the sketchy Costa Rican airline that’s flying me to Quito for less than 500 bucks isn’t going to be splurging on “comfort.”
But, hey. At least this time I won’t have to do it all alone.