Long – time readers know that when I disappear for awhile it means I’ve hit the road again, out on another adventure. This time is no exception. Well, except that Mr. Tattered prefers to call the first part the “adversity trip,” rather than an adventure trip.
Got time for a story?
This was our first land trip to third world countries (we’ve been on cruises with stops in third world countries, but it isn’t the same.) We went first to Ecuador, including the Galapagos Islands, and to Peru. Crazy, huh? Having lived it, I still can’t believe we did it! More surprisingly, Mr. Tattered went for one of my, what some people would consider “hair-brained” ideas!
We went as part of a small group of travelers with Road Scholar, a not-for-profit tour company that caters to people 55 and over. Their trips are not just for “seeing” the sights, but have a large educational component.
We saw and did so many amazing things I’d love to share with you, but even now, as I try to organize my brain, I haven’t exactly figured out how to present it. Most certainly it can’t be done in a single post, not even two or three. So I guess I’ll just start at the beginning and see what happens.
We began our trip flying into Quito, Ecuador. A big city in a third world country is really not my cup of tea. There may be exceptions, but it appears they have some commonality – pollution and a huge density of poor people, in living conditions I wouldn’t want to have to endure. Breathing filthy air and being unable to drink the water or eat much of the food makes me so grateful that we have regulation in our country. I know it is not a popular thought in much of the nation, but when you get a first hand look at what people will do to their environment left to their own devices, it’s pretty sad. I’m glad we have protections.
It is an odd blend of old and new.
Anyway, I would not have enjoyed Quito much, were it not for the fact that the equator runs through it, and there is a super cool interactive monument there where we learned a lot about the equator and got an a souvenir stamp on our passports. Not only does the equator run through it, but it’s also the highest point of elevation on the equator, so doubly cool. (Heeheehee! I love silly little things like that!)
Standing in both hemispheres at once! What a trip!
We also saw a presentation on making cocoa (one of Ecuador’s leading exports – who knew?) and got to taste it both raw and made into chocolate bars – yum!
Who could imagine cocoa started out like this?
The next day we flew from Quito to Guayaquil to Baltra Island in the Galapagos, where we were to board our yacht. The anticipation was almost more than I could handle. In the harbor we were welcomed by the first of many, many greeters in the islands.
Apparently the word yacht does not mean a fancy boat, but rather the size of a boat. It was a little primitive. But, hey, we’re on an adventure, right? We don’t need no stinkin’ luxury boat!
We enjoyed a light lunch and set out for our 1st stop on North Seymour Island. It was hours of non-stop amazement. The island was home to oodles and oodles of sea lions, frigate birds, land iguanas, and blue-footed boobies. My camera was smokin’. The most incredible part is that the wildlife have absolutely no fear of people. They just go about their business like we were not even there, making for some incredible opportunities for photography.
Galapagos Sea Lions…
…and their pups. Tons of them.
Blue-footed Boobies were the coolest birds!
Their mating dance was a crack-up!
Frigate birds followed us everywhere, but seeing them on land was even more awesome.
Trying to impress the girls!
A teen-ager frigate.
…and the iguanas. You’ll be seeing a lot more of these. Stay tuned.
All too soon it was time to leave for the next island. We could have stayed for hours and hours. And hours.
Once we returned to the boat, the “adversity” began. Poor Mr. Tattered gets just a little sea sick from time to time, and this was one of those times. First of all, it appears that we have no hot water for showers (brrrr, chilly!) and then we rocked and rolled all night long, and he was beginning to wonder if we’d made a mistake in coming. For me, it would take a lot more than a thrill ride of a boat ride to override the absolute wonder of the animals we’re seeing, just on day one!