I'm just listing some reminders for us... which could help those who are planning, too.......
For next trip:
--Galapagos islands. We'd fly, rather than take the 600 mi boat trip.... you might need to book the trip before getting there as the waiting list is long... $100 entry fee. The airports have special rules for what you can take, too, with their own baggage/security areas. We're thinking of doing a tour for this, could be easier than trying to arrange ourselves.
-- highlands, llamas/alpacas/yarn -- check the volcano activity first.
-- more Cuenca, more coast
--Buy more of those wonderful shawls!
--Visit the Panama hat factories in Cuenca
--See more Quito (beyond old town and the mall)
--Maybe a jungle trip? B/R stayed on a floating hotel...
--re-visit the ikat studio (on, hopefully, a dye day)
--get more pics of the rivers in Cuenca
--More buzz off/tropics clothing, see online shops like magellans.com
--remember the sunscreen...don't forget to really layer it on if you have a window seat on the plane! Remember the sunhat, too.
--We overpacked... not knowing what we can buy there. If in Quito, and even in some places on the coast, you'll find the more main-stream vitamins, aspirin, hand lotion, clothing, etc
--bring your 100% DEET for the coast... you can find at WM, or hunting/travel shops
--hotels can arrange tours/drivers who speak english
--visit Banos, if the volcano behaves
--Bring motion sickness stuff, if you're prone... those elastic bracelets with the beads are great! Your doc can also perscribe patches, but we didn't need those.......ginger helps, too.
--Hotels:: we stayed at Sheraton 4 points Quito -- suites are nice, some have full kitchens and laundry facilities, but bring/buy your own laundry soap. Everyone speaks English.
Oro Verde hotel in Cuenca -- reminded us of old European hotels with lots of wood and older baths. Staff speaks some English. It's on the edge of town though. No water the day we were there. Construction next door. (Note to us: find hotel closer to town)
--Remember... water and power turn off peridically, for whatever reason, even in the 'good' hotels
--drink more beer! Pilsner brand is delish!
-- high altitude tea -- called mate/coca.... works like a charm! You might be able to buy in Quito (and maybe the coast)
(Denver's altitude is 5,280 feet. Quito is at 9,200 FT; Cuenca is at 7,650 feet.
Typical flight is at about 8000 ft.)
--doublecheck meds... farmacia didn't have bp pills for R and, with the trip dates changed, we forgot to refill for the trip.
--probiotics and electrolite mix -- we got meds from the farmacia, He gave us Floritil and buscapina which seemed to halt the symptoms. Pretty good deal at five bucks for the course.
It was probiotics and replacing the electolytes when we were sick... You can find traveler's pills (the probiotics) in the health food section of Fred Meyer and the electrolite mix online, magellans,com, I think. The electrolyte stuff at the farmicia is horrible tasting! Or, just buy lemons/limes for your bottled water. (add sugar? add salt? Not sure.)
--Do not use the tap water! Bottled water only. Or, go for distilled, if available. Pack an extra toothbrush for those times you'll forget and run it under the tap... Yu can find water purification pills online to pack, or go for a water purification filter to pack (also online or sport stores)
--laundry soap (instead of hotel shampoo, bar soap, body wash...which I used in a pinch)
--if you do side-trips from Quito... leave main luggage at hotel storage. Makes the side-trip, especially if you fly in country, much easier because of the weight limitations. Remember: weight that is ok on Continental may not be ok on the smaller airlines.
--pack your patience... breathe more... pack your very best Spanish, too
Stuff to take to Bob and Rox, next time:
--wrapping paper/ribbon! None in the stores... Funny story: I helped Rox wrap the wedding gift... she used white computer paper, white baby yarn from my stash, and she cut out tin foil bells...very cute! The gifts for us were wrapped in handmade, hand decorated paper... Rox is an artist! Very cute reindeer! Come to think of it... forget the wrapping paper, Rox's art is so much more creative than the store bought kind!
--check to see about what meds, bandages, etc they might need
--more books! check with them for a list...
--if you drink gin, you'll want to bring a bottle from the duty free shop (not available near B/R's)
I know we have more pics from the first stop in Quito... we'll post those later. I think Rich found those on the computer...