After a 4 hour flight from Miami, we finally arrived in Quito, around 9:30 pm, exhausted. We had taken Diamox a couple days ahead to try to avoid the immediate effects of the altitude change (9000 ft) we usually get after arriving. However, I had trouble walking and wondered why Steve was doing fine. He had found that chewing on a ginko biloba gives immediate relief from altitude symptoms, so I asked him for one. It was nasty, but it worked – instantly my shortness of breath was gone.
As the Branch informed us, sure enough there were brothers there with signs ready to help us through customs and immigration. As a result, everything went quick and smoothly. In fact, all that worry about getting 450 trinkets and numerous gifts for the family through customs was totally avoided. They sent us right around customs. Wow. Just the beginning of our celebrity treatment.
As we walked out of the customs area into the airport, we were surprised and overwhelmed by dozens of brothers and sisters greeting us with signs, songs and hugs. Wish we had a video camera going; it was amazing and heartwarming.
When meeting the brothers greeting us, I mentioned that we didn’t expect that many would be there so late at night. Maybe a handful, but there were over 50 at least. She said that we were the first flight; they were waiting to greet more brothers on a flight arriving at 10:30. With the airport a hour away from Quito, I’m sure most of those brothers got to bed very late that night. But we really appreciated their welcome.