Before 9/11, I sent others flying and roamed the globe myself. Cheaper and safer travel prevailed.
My travels took me to where Yugoslavia still carried on as Yugoslavia. Dubrovnik boasted squeaky clean cobblestone streets. One of their churches had eerily stood still for centuries, or, so it seemed. Previous earthquakes didn't bring it tumbling down. I remember this city with its drawbridge, as oh, so clean, and the Adriatic coast as lush and so scenic...and the Mostar bridge before the bombing.
I cruised the Atlantic through Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands where Bluebeard did his uglies.
Israel stood well guarded, and Tel-Aviv had not been bombed yet. Having won a trip, I went alone and stayed for a month. The desert flowers covered the landscape in full bloom. They told me this only happens once a year. Pondering on when Jesus walked on it, I crossed the Sea of Galilee on a ferry boat. I walked Nazareth streets and observed where Jesus lived. I slept in the convent on Mt. Carmel and prayed in a chapel in a cave where Elijah himself stayed and prayed.
London lent itself to easy touring on its double-decker buses. Westminster Abbey couldn't be accessed due to remodeling, but the Cathedral remained open and active. I sailed the Thames and crossed the Tower Bridge, musing on Big Ben.
Jamaica shared its lush greenery and its laid back "No problem" style...with its oh, so clear ocean water...so clear you could watch the tiny silver fish swimming in schools. The locals wouldn't let me leave without braiding my hair in their famous way.
The Bahamas held spell-binding dungeons and gorgeous beaches. I higgled for a hat there that I finally gave away.
Quito, Ecuador became my second home, as I travel back and forth from the U.S. to the new airport way out at Tababela about an hour (depending on traffic) from Quito where an Angel always picks me up and delivers me to my apartment no matter what time of day or night I arrive. If he can't make it, his wife, Laura, fills in, welcoming me with a bouquet of fresh, gorgeous Ecuadorian roses.
Safety remains my main concern, so when I arrive, I become one of the locals. Many there think I am an Ecuadorian. I speak fluent Spanish having been born and raised on a farm near a village where the Spanish language ruled. Then I would attend school 20 miles away, riding the traditional black-striped yellow school bus, where English reigned. I guess I had the best of two worlds and still do.
Sometimes I still travel alone, but I'm only "alone" on the plane. I have so many friends in Ecuador who look out for me. That is the beauty I have found to return to again and again, and now I share what I have discovered with you.
Maybe you're wondering why colonial Quito... Let me fill you in.
When I travel to Ecuador, I usually find a bargain price on the internet if I persist, and so can you. Just stick with names you know. You can also try splitting up your flight, as from a western city to Houston or Miami, then from Houston or Miami to Quito. Also check Dallas to Quito on American. Set up an alert for specials.
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