Published: June 13th 2008June 13th 2008
They are huge!
Panama seems like ages ago now and it was a bit of a flying visit but we had a really good time there. We visited one of the locks of the Panama Canal and watched a couple of huge boats go through which was quite impressive, walked round the old centre, and spent an afternoon walking in one of the jungle national parks close by which was cool - it was amazing to be in the middle of what felt like deep jungle watching a family of armadillos when in fact we were only a few minutes by taxi from the centre of the city. There are a lot of rich and poor extremes in Panama City (far more than we ever saw in Costa Rica) but some areas are really developed and westernised so we also took the opportunity of having a bit of normality and going to see Indiana Jones at the cinema - it was a bit odd coming out back into Panama when the film ended.
After Panama we flew into Quito in Ecuador to start our two months or so in South America. We only spent a few hours and a night in
Quito before flying straight off to the Galapagos Islands. We booked our trip a few weeks ago and were both really excited and looking forward to it but also a bit nervous I think about it living up to expectations (and the cost). All I can say is that it was amazing! We saw so much wildlife and whats incredible is that you feel like you´re permanently in the middle of some bbc nature program because rather than just watching the wildlife you´re actually interacting with it and its all happening about 1 metre or less away from you. We stayed on this really nice catameran and sailed around 5 or 6 Islands (Baltra, Santa Cruz, Rabida, Seymour and San Cristobal) both walking round them on the trails and also snorkelling off each one. I´m really struggling to write this as theres so much that we saw that I want to remember...the sea lions who swam and played with us for an hour or so keeping us warm as we swam in the sea at 6 in the morning, snorkelling with sharks, turtles, penguins and so many other amazing fish, the frigate birds with their massive puffed out red throats,
the blue footed boobies doing their one legged mating dance to each other (I know, who´d have thought I´ve had so much in common with them), the land and marine iguanas which are strolling round everywhere, the pelicans, the giant tortoises which are just huge, the incredible volcanic landscapes everywhere and probably so many other things that I need to look at our hundreds of photos to remember. Even the wake up at three in the morning as our boat hit huge waves and stuff started flying round the cabin was quite funny as I stumbled round searching for sea sickness pills. The whole experience was brilliant!
We´re now back in Quito and two has become three for a few weeks as we have met up with Ib which is exciting to travel down through Ecuador to Peru. We´ve spent the last few days seeing and going out in Quito, we went to a really cool jazz club last night which made a change from the normal salsa, and seeing the "middle of the world" a big monument at the equator. Quito seems to have changed so much from how I remember it 6 years ago (for the better!)
and there seems to be so much more to do. I think we´re now realising how short a time we have in South America and how much bigger it is than Central America.
Anyway, I think that just about brings us up to date and as always we hope to get a very small sample of our hundreds of galapagos photos up here soon.
Hope alls well in England - its strange to think of England now in summer virtually.
There are more photos below