Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quito Day 2/ Galapagos Day 1

Andrew, ever the dependent man, was on time and ready to go at 630 am. We navigated the Quito airport and were checked in in under 25 minutes, even after he had said we'd need to be patient (or practically pleaded in advance for our patience) as he filled out lengthy paperwork for the trip. We think he is used to rather impatient people, as it was a pretty speedy process.

After budding Andrew adieu, we boarded our flight and were on our way.

Flying into the Galapagos was beautiful. I saw a huge pod of dolphins nearly 300 in number, as we descended. Foreigners are required to pay $100 as an entrance fee to the national park upon entrance, for what I assume allows you to enter the many reserves. After obtaining our luggage we boarded a bus, then private ferry, and finally a truck to deliver us to the hotel.

Not our boat; we traveled by private ferry.

Much of the Galapagos Islands are national parks, but there is still some that is private, such as the town we stayed in on Santa Cruz Island, Puerto Aroyo. The islands aren't huge either, we drove from one end to the other in 45 minutes. It was crazy to see the scenery change from arid desert at the airport to lush greenery and botanical flowers as we drive south.

The hotel was the most simplistic of our accommodations this trip, but clean and neat. Unfortunately, the street in front was being torn up and actual dynamite used to eradicate the volcanic rock-something we can't fault anyone for, but a bummer for noise, from 7 am to 10 pm.

After checking in and enjoying a cocktail (now Monday) we set off to find some tortoises and wildlife.

A suggestion from the bartender was Tortuga Bay, a 30 minute paver road that led to a remote beach, lagoon, and haven for iguanas. We saw crabs, pelicans, and finches and other birds galore...but no tortugas.

So many finches.

The only place you'll find cactus trees. Straight out of Dr. Seuss books.

We stumbled upon quite the iguana population. I wanted to turn back because it did not interest me to walk through there with my toes exposed, but we find a path to veer around them.

Walking on the lava was treacherous-it was brittle and deceivingly not always firm. I put my foot through a hole and still carry a bruise and wound. Here I am soaking it in the lagoon.

Pelicans everywhere.

Much like Hawaii or other islands, the weather changes quickly, from blue skies to rain. After about an hour or two of wandering the beach and the menacing clouds above, we turned back, exploring the small town and local lifestyle.

By evening our early rising and traveling fatigue caught up to us and we crashed early.

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