We got to the Quito airport and after a good wait, checked our big bag, went through inspection, and boarded the plane for home.
Miami airport didn’t fail to disappoint once again, with a lack of signage, confusion about what they actually expected travelers on a connecting flight to do and where they wanted us to go to catch that flight, a crazy luggage pick up and re-check policy, and finally a stunning absence of decent food, vegetarian or otherwise.
Customs was a madhouse, and we had a pathologically jovial customs agent who felt the need to make jokes and initiate small talk. This really mystified us as we waited over half an hour for our line to advance (while watching other lines moving twice as fast) and again when we looked behind us to see literally hundreds of people waiting to go through. He also kept stepping out of his booth to lead people somewhere or just talk to other agents. It was weird and pretty darn frustrating, especially when you knew you’d have to play along with a smile once your turn finally arrived to talk to him. Ugh.
RDU was very easy to navigate in the middle of the night, essentially a ghost town, with most of the restaurants and shops closed and very few passengers, other than those coming off our plane, wandering around. The rattle of my rolling luggage on the moving walkway was deafening in the absence of the usual airport noises. We were shocked by the cold air as we exited the airport and hailed a taxi, but it was great to know that our traveling day was over, finally.
All in all, the trip home was relatively uneventful, with the notable exception of American Airlines inability to serve dinner, as promised, to vegetarians. We complained, to no avail and then supplemented the side salads and can of ginger ale they gave us with snacks from our backpacks.
Otherwise, we managed our luggage, inspections and then customs just fine, arriving home in the middle of the night to the wonderful sight of our house, the clean water of our taps, and the amazingly soft bed we had been dreaming of for weeks.
It’s wonderful to travel, and it’s wonderful to get back home.