Blogs from Ecuador, South America - page 8

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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island January 2nd 2014

January 1, 2014 Today we left our winter home in Arizona and traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador via Miami. Relatively painless connections and an overnight stay before our early morning flight to Baltra Island Airport and Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. January 2, 2014 Flight this morning from Guayaquil to Baltra Airport, Isla Baltra, Galapagos, Ecuador. Easy flight of under 2 hours. Then some interesting ( to say the least ) connections from the airport via short bus ride, a short ferry ride, and a taxi trip to Puerto Ayora. ( all with our bags - Note to self. --Travel Light !!! ) This last segment included a visit to a land turtle viewing area in the wild. This was a very interesting walk through some nice countryside and a very close up experience with some very large, ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island January 1st 2014

After breakfast I departed the Xavier 3 (the boat I had been on for the last several days) for the last time and set out for the island of Santa Cruz. We had been 15 passengers on the boat and 7 crew members. The Darwin Research Center is on Santa Cruz where they are successfully breeding Galapagos tortoises to help repopulate the islands. We saw some tortoises well over 100 years old and some only one year old. A few flights later and I'm in the Quito airport waiting for my flight home. Usually at the airport before an international flight home I'm scrambling to either spend or trade in my foreign currency. Not in Ecuador. They use the dollar here as their currency, something I didn't know until I started researching the country prior to ... read more
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the boat i was on for 4 days
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South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santiago Island December 31st 2013

Feeling better today! We started our morning at Sullivan Bay on Santiago Island which is a place covered in lava formations. Really cool. Sounds strange, but one of the coolest sites was getting to see a Sally lightfoot crab eating an eel. We also saw some lava lizards and one lava cactus growing out of the lava. Right off the edge of the island were penguins searching the seas for their breakfast. After some snorkeling and lunch we hiked up to a viewpoint on Bartolome Island for a spectacular view of the surrounding islands. In the afternoon we did some more snorkeling and saw some more penguins. We had an excellent New Years Eve dinner. The chef even carved animals out of fruit. What a cool place to spend New Years Eve.... read more
viewpint from Bartolome Island
Daniel, our guide, walking in the lava field
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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center December 31st 2013

It will be a life threatening event to ever go and participate in Dutch traffic again. My fright reaction has fallen behind in comparison to my brothers and sisters in evolution anyway (or actually, it has over-evolved: it can only be evoked by acute life danger that´s directly visible), but after two weeks in Quito, I´ve also become honk-immune. One has to be, or else you´d need tranquilizers every time you go out on the street. So by now I´ve learned the basics of the Ecuadorian honk language and I´d like to share my new knowledge with people in countries where you pay 130 euros if you honk when there´s no direct danger. I have to admit though: there´s always direct danger here, so maybe it´s not as mad as it seems :). Here are the ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center December 31st 2013

¨Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.¨ - Preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) - ¨If you´d have been born in a family of the market, would you be doing what you´re doing now?¨ Eightteen European and Northern American heads shake firmly. ¨Why not?¨ Well, probably we wouldn´t even understand the concept ¨foreign country¨. And even if we would, we probably couldn´t be less interested because you don´t need ¨foreign country¨ to survive. And that is the most important daily activity here: to survive. And there we are: eightteen gringos and gringas from the Rich World, each of us with a (pre-)academic education, with enough money to fly to ... read more

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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center December 31st 2013

Twice I had almost turned around. The first time it was because of the taxi driver: obviously a special case of ADHD. Everytime he couldn´t accelerate, steer or change gears (oh yeah, or honk of course!), he turned the volume of the radio randomly up and down. Loud, quietly. Loud. Aaaand quietly again. Loud. Sigh, quietly. Besides, there was a local program on and Friday afternoon was ¨bad jokes continuously¨-time. Our driver found everything said hilarious, but his good mood didn´t reach any further than the front window. Honking, swaying, pushing in, and pointing at his forehead he made his way through the Friday traffic in Quito. And when occasionally he didn´t touch the radio for more than a minute, the volume was always left at an annoying level of 12+, where 8 indicated the limit ... read more

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito » Historical Center December 31st 2013

To the tune Row, row, row your boat; ¨Tell me what you do, early in the morning. Everyday I brush my teeth, early in the morning.¨ Easy one, the songs and chants for kids module of the teaching english course last May in Seville. It took us about five minutes to make the song and then we could have sung for half an hour about morning routines: ¨Everyday I wake up, I take a shower, I´m getting dressed, I have some bread, I brush my teeth, I pack my bag, I hug my mom, I go to school… early in the morning.¨ While singing we could mimic the activities that we were mentioning. Yeah, we were sure: this was going to be a hit for the kids. My new three to five year old friends from ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Latacunga December 31st 2013

¨To tigua? At thát desk,¨ they had told us, and we had taken a deep breath before we had went to stand in line at the back of the row: half of the people in the overcrowded bus station of Latacunga seemed to queue upbefore the same desk. And although I knew my backpack was safe and well in the hands of my travel mates, this wasn´t the most relaxing situation that I could imagine. While I tried to find a good balance between my ¨I´m not bothered¨-look, my ¨I´m watching you¨-look and my ¨stay away from me¨-look, I stood there with my hands in my pockets (where my money was), trying to both keep my place in the queue and checking on where the man that was stuck on my back was putting his hands. ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Latacunga December 31st 2013

(Read what happened before, in¨One hour, downhill¨ and other Ecuadorian untruths) It doesn´t happen much that I have to think twice about where I am, if I woke up too late or too early and who´s lying next to me, but this is one of these mornings. Soon though pieces of the solution start to enter my awakening mind. Guinea pig soup. The lost gallery. Mountains, always uphill. A string out of the door to open it. Aaah, yes, we´re doing the Quilotoa loop and this village with no water between four in the afternoon and five in the morning is called Zumbahua, known for its Saturday market. It´s Saturday, and next to me lies Graham still asleep: he´s the travel companion that was elected (? :P) to ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Centre » Latacunga December 31st 2013

(Find out what happened before, in:¨The Single Knob for automatic hot water. Uh-huh. Really.¨) ¨Excuse me, mister, are you sure that I won´t crash into the crater together with your horse any moment now? He seems to be really tired…¨ I´m sitting on the swaying back of a snorting and sweating horse that stands still every five minutes to catch a breath. We´ve almost arrived the top of the crater, and I imagine that I would ask that question and that the man would say: ¨yeah sure, no worries, you´ll both be fine.¨ As in: ¨sure, I know the way,¨ or ¨sure, that´s the normal price,¨ or ¨sure, tomorrow morning we´ll have water again. Hot water.¨ I hold on to that last thought when my staggering quadruped and I are both getting ready for the next ... read more




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