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Mike's Pilot Log: South to South Adventure

Olivier has become very good at dealing with the bureaucrats...

We were up early and caught a taxi to the airport. We hadn't seen too much of Guayaquil, but really wanted to move on and so, it didn't really bother us. Augusto and Janiel and a few others arrived to see us off. It was a time consuming and slow process to get out of there. We filed a flight plan and got our passports stamped. Then there was the issue of the parking fees. They wanted about $350. Olivier has become very good at dealing with the bureaucrats at airports. First he kisses them, then he kicks them, then he pleads with them (just a bit) and then he insults them (sometimes a bit and sometimes a lot) and then he kisses them again. Eventually most of them give in and either waive the landing or parking fees or reduce them. The guy who does the paperwork usually cannot take the pace and calls his superior. In this case the big boss was called at home and he said that we should write a letter about our trip and then we wouldn't have to pay for parking. We had already paid the landing fees of about $60 each. (Landings are expensive, but take-offs are always free – you can take off as often as you want and will never have to pay a single cent...)

We headed out over the city towards the coast over some small mountains and dense bush. The coast was beautiful and we descended to 1,000 ft and cruised along with a slight tailwind. There were clouds around, but no storms and the weather was good. We landed on the beach and transferred the last bit of fuel into our tanks. We didn't want to land at Esmeraldas, the northern town in Ecuador (mostly to avoid the landing fees, but also to avoid the bureaucracy.). We wanted to get into Colombia, so we got into the air again quickly. The last 40 minutes of the flight was over thick mangrove swamps. Engine failure was a scary thought.

We landed at Tumaco Airport and were immediately surrounded by curious military soldiers. They seemed friendly enough, but insisted on searching all my equipment. I always though that I looked like the angel and Olivier was more like the gun runner, but obviously in Colombia, drug lords and gun runners look like me and angels look like him!

We moved our trikes under cover and after posting a guard over them, walked up the road to the air traffic controllers quarters and took a shower. A local businessman took us to buy fuel and asked if we would take him and a friend for a flight in the morning. We agreed, for a fee.

At about 8pm we wandered off to a restaurant to test drive some of the local fish dishes. It was Saturday night in Colombia – which means party time! The bridge into the town was the place to gather and dance and drink and enjoy the night. The music is soooo good here. Latin passion means that they really know how to enjoy themselves to the maximum. Something that I noticed (quite by accident) was that almost all the women dress really provocatively with a lot of cleavage showing…. I think my hormones are starting to complain!

We slept in the tent near the trikes to keep the mozzies [mosquitoes] at bay.  Why do biting insects have to be in these great places? Why didn't God put them in places like caves and high up in trees and over the middle of the ocean and places like that?

These mozzies were a new breed to me. They land and bite immediately and stick their bums high up in the air…. Kind of just asking for a smack!


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