Friday, February 20, 2009

New Itinerary

It is time to start getting organized  for our trip to the Galapagos. We will be flying to Quito next Friday, then  spend a day exploring the city, leave for Otovalo for a day at the market, followed by five days cruising around the Galapagos islands, and a day in Guayaquil. We will be traveling with Johns Hopkins alumni, as well as alumni from other universities. Eric will be lecturing to the group about Ecuador, Darwin and evolution. 

I am especially looking forward to this trip, because I do not have a significant role to play, so I will simply be a tourist. I do not have to worry about students and children and safety. I plan to take hundreds of photographs, write as much as I can, perhaps do some filming, read and relax, perhaps even jump off the boat. I was horrified the first time the captain allowed Eric and the students to leap off the boat from the balconies. It looked entirely unsafe. Each year, more and more students take the plunge and they all survive. I was relieved that Maya did not see it happen this year; if she had she would be jumping off the boat with the students. Usually it is just the boys who are jumping, and most years there are far more girls than boys, so only a handful take the risk. Apparently this year many more girls participated and the group had a larger number of boys, who jump anyway. I do not think we have to worry that the older crowd that we are with will want to do it. But perhaps it is time to be brave and do it myself. Or not. I will decide when we get there.

We will be on the same boat as we were the last several times. I will recognize many of the staff. The first time I travelled to the Galapagos we were on a different boat, and I enjoyed the ceremony we participated in when crossing the equator. All of the passengers on the boat took part in the extravaganza. Eric was King Neptune. There was a queen and a princess, and I was a pirate along with many other pirates. We followed a script, there was music and songs to sing, and a good time was had by all. I am not sure why it did not happen on the Santa Cruz last year. Apparently some passengers complained about it. I remember it being absolutely fun. 

This will be my first visit to Guayaquil. I just learned tonight that we will have a tour of the city and overnight. There is a rivalry between Quito and Guayaquil. Quito is the capital of Ecuador and Guayaquil is the business centre. The people are different. Quitenos call those from Guayaquil 'monos' (monkeys) and those from Guayaquil have a derogatory name for people from the highlands. The coastal Ecuadorians talk faster, move faster, have a different history. I expect that we will travel to the coast when we live in Ecuador. This will be my introductory visit.

So I will be more of a tourist this visit. I am seeing new places, I will not be taking care of anyone, so I am freer than I usually on these trips. When we travel with the students, the schedule is rigorous, and we do not sleep more than a few hours a night except when in the Galapagos. Our itinerary next week is far more relaxed, and I will have time with Eric and quiet time too, so this is a vacation for me. 


  1. You will love the Galapagos Islands because it is the most incredible living museum of evolutionary changes, with a huge variety of exotic species (birds, land animals, plants) not seen anywhere else. The landscapes are also out of this world.

  2. Thank you for reading my blog. I have a very exciting year ahead of me!