Tuesday, August 2, 2011

English Convention Part One - Getting there

The Highlight of our year is over - it was so very good and we had a very refreshing 3 days. Guayaquil put on some lovely weather. It was a little sticky in some moments but on the whole very pleasant!

Didn't think we would get there to start off with. We planned to meet all everyone at 8.45a.m at the Bus Terminal but when we got there something looked very wrong. All the Buses were lined up on the outside of the Terminal and when we got out of the Taxi - no one accosted us as they usually do yelling "Where are you going" (The Bus lines must pay guys to get people onto their buses).

The reason soon became clear - there was a strike! Someone had been murdered at the Terminal and they were protesting for more security - Also apparently they were still looking for the murderer. After deliberating a bit, we managed to track down a private bus service and all 13 of us (we had managed to pick up 4 stranded tourists that wanted out of Cuenca too) taxied over to the joint, paid our money and then hopped on board 2 busettas (7 seater vans). Yay we're off, we thought and only and hour and half past our orignal time. Hah! no such joy - as we neared the outskirts of Cuenca, heading into the Caja's (National Park) the driver stopped and for a frustrating half hour we waited while he phoned this one and that one. He was very vague with us so we were unsure of the hold up until finally he admitted to not having his legal papers and we wouldn't get past a police check point and the police were being very vigilant due to the search for the murderer! So BACK TO CUENCA we went!

We eventually were taken to a company that had their legal papers and dropped off. Seemed like all of Cuenca wanted to get out by this stage and we were very fortuanate to be in the gates of this place before they locked them. After much confusion (and about an hour of waiting) we were loaded into busettas again - about 7 were leaving at the same time so there were people and bags everywhere. All of  a sudden the police arrived and the exit blocked. I presume they were making sure they had the papers etc but it was a little concerning as to what was going on. We thought at one stage there was going to be a riot (out on the street - we were safely stored in the busettas). Anyway all of a sudden things were sorted and our driver jumped in the car and we were off! (the time by now was 12.45pm).

Waiting Waiting (some of us are still smiling at this stage)
Just as a side note there are upsides and downsides to travelling with pretty girls (ie Amanda, Megan and Britany and 2 adorable Ecuadorian Chicas) - one of the downsides was that poor  Britany had taken a travel sickness pill on our first exit from Cuenca so was pretty out of it by the time we started going again. We had put her in the front seat and she drifted happily off the sleep. She kind of slipped down in her seat at one stage and the driver stopped to put her seat back. Thing is I was sitting directly behind her - that didn't concern the driver at all as he laid the seat right back onto me, I had to sit twisted so that my legs weren't squashed! It was hilarous that the old lady didn't get any consideration at all, just as long as the pretty redhead was comfortable!(Britany - if you are reading this I am not trying to make you feel bad, just want to paint a picture for everyone).

We had a deadline, unfortunately, to get to Guayaquil - Mark and Aaron had a drama practice scheduled for 5.30 at the assembly hall which is about 45 minutes away from Guayaquil. It meant that we rolled into our hotel (after paying the driver extra to find our hotel) at 4.10 - had to quickly change our clothes and make our way to the rendevouz point at 4.30. Well we did make it to the drama practice but we were all staving so the makeup didn't really get applied as it should have. Britney and Megan and Amanda were my team and I am so thankful they were willing to help.We finally got some food at around 8pm and we all flopped into bed thankful that we were in Guayaquil and not stuck on the road somewhere. Anyway - more on the assembly to come, stay tuned.


Bev B said...

Hi Aaron, Amanda and fam, loved the news in your email Aaron, sounded like you had a really bad journey and 29 hours is heavy going! You need some padding hey! It's fantastic to know that we're enjoying the same spiritual feast all over the globe-how privileged we are as Jehovah's people. We had 32 baptised and 3 from Hillcrest. Sunday arvo attendance was 4504. Just as lunch started the heavens opened up and many of us got soaked, Alex was so wet he had to go home and change. Was fantastic convention!! Lots of love Bev

Amanda said...

Hi Bev, So nice to hear from you! Thanks for that update from Hillcrest, I miss you all sooo much. Big Hugs!!!