15.05.2014 - 15.05.2014
... the previous day.
My father and I have finished surgery for the day and we are standing around our supplies.
Most of the supplies have been used throughout our 21 cases. All of the sterile gowns have been used,
most of the sterile gloves are done and the variety of visco-elastic lenses has diminished.
Both of us are quite satisfied with the work we have done, and my dad feels that we don't need
to do another day of surgery. It's at this point that we look at our options.
With four (ish) days of freedom, we have to make the most out of Ecuador. We could stay with the
team, visit Cuenca and on the last day, visit Quito. Or, we can roll the dice and make a bold attempt to
make it to the Galapagos.
So obviously we try to go to Galapagos. My father heads to the travel agency with one of our translators
to see if there are any tickets available while I pack up the surgical supplies.
We decided to donate a large portion of the remaining supplies to the military hospital.
Bad news. The travel agency couldn't find a single ticket
to Galapagos for the next 36 hours.
We are at dinner. One of the translators suggest we consider bribing a local pilot to take us there.
I'm seriously considering it. (It'd make one hell of a story, that's for sure)
There is nothing available online. In a final desperate attempt, we ask our travel agent,
Jeannie Henke, to see if she can work her magic.
Jeanne emails us. She has pulled together a miracle and has found a flight (From Cuenca -> Guayaquil, GuayaQuil -> Galapagos). All she needs
is some credit card information and we are good to go for 7am the next day.
Another email. While she was booking the flight from Guayaquil -> Galapagos, someone took the last two spots from Cuenca -> Guayaquil.
There are no flights. She'll keep trying but things are very grim.
Nothing. We decide to go to bed.
Jeanne suggests we attempt to drive to Guayaquil and catch our flight.
We're driving to Guayaquil in an attempt to catch our flight.
It turns out the drive was a very good decision. The drive from Cuenca to Guayaquil takes you
up through their mountain range (from 2500 m up to 3200 m) and then down to the coast. The driver, Wilson, is confident we can make it with time to spare, so we stop
twice for a quick photo shoot. The landscape is stunning.
We also learn a little about Ecuadorian driving. You know those yellow lines that run in the middle of the road?
Yea. Those are definitely more of an optional guideline for drivers. But hey, passing large semis
on a curvy mountain road just makes a for a good story.
Two hours later, we plunge into fog so thick we can barely see 5 meters in front of us. We crawl ahead at a snails pace
hoping to not hit anything or fall off a mountain side. However, we emerge from the fog alive and head to the coast.
Thanks to our driver, Wilson, we make it to the airport on time.