Wednesday, June 6, 2012

So, It Began

Guayaquil was very interesting and once upon the Malecon river, it was gorgeous.  My expectations of Ecuador were very low.  I'd been to many countries in the past with high expectations and while oft not disappointed, sometimes, my expectations were not met.

Ecuador... exceeded all of them.

The university group with which I was traveling finally arrived very, very late (or very, very early depending on your perspective) Tuesday night (Weds morning, actually).  And with a tired group in tow, we started our trek through the city of Guayaquil with our tour guide.  If you are inclined to visit Ecuador, ask me for the name as in keeping with everyone's privacy, I won't name him.  However... well, more on he and his family later!

We toured, we ate, we left for the airport to land on the island of Baltra in the Galapagos chain.

Here, I met one of man's worst enemies.  The narcissistic, adolescent, head full of entitlement, ... turns out my son was in elementary school with her and called her a not-so-nice name, then looked at me and said, "You were on a boat with her?"  adding much more quickly, "I'm so sorry.  She is a ..." and then said a word that I will not utter.

Yep, that's how my trip started.  With "her"... and upon landing in Baltra, I considered turning around at the LAN terminal and asking how much to return to the mainland.  Nine days with her... oiy.

So, here's a learning note for me:

Don't travel in groups of 19 year olds who think that God created the planet just for them...

Okay, onward.

Baltra is the island where everyone lands.  Even Angelina and her brood have to pass through the National Parque in order to visit the islands.  Everyone has to swear they will not touch the animals, try to take plants or shells, or sand or ... you know, breathe the Galapagos air... (okay, I was kidding on that part)... before you can embark onto the boat.

Yes, for nine days on a boat without the ability to flush toilet paper... you put it in a garbage can (yes, even the ickiest, poo filled TP goes in the can, not the toilet and lest you forget, you plug up the piping and the entire thing overflows - just ask cabin 7! - I was cabin 3).

Our first visit to an island was an unplanned stop because one of our instructors was puking all the time.  So onto Santa Cruz we went; 40 minutes by bus to drop her off at the guide's house and then onto the scenery.

And here, my blog readers, things changed for the better.  MUCH much better!

Of course, that's all grand and everything but then... I saw this:

And then I zoomed in to see this:

But turning around I was intrigued by "Fang" - haha:

and then he started walking toward me.

Note:  In the Galapagos, the animals have NO fear of humans.  This becomes more and more important as the islands visits got more interesting.  The animals approach without concern about the human snapping photos but according the promise made on Baltra, one most move (if possible, this is a key point) 6 feet from the animal.  Unless of course, you can't (which I have pictures of to show that in some cases, I was literally an inch from a sea lion with no where to move).

So, I'll start you here on my trek - Santa Cruz.  It's where my smile re-emerged!

1 comment:

NP Odyssey said...

First can I say OMG. Just had to do it because of you post.
Have not checked your blog in a while and what an experience you are getting. Teenagers everywhere kind of like the plague.
I do love your pictures and how great of the tortoise.
Peace, love and happiness to you and the adolescence.