Otavalo, Baños, Quito, Galapagos
I´m in Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos. I got here the day before yesterday in the afternoon by way of taxi, plane, bus, ferry, taxi. This little town is adorable and neighborhood-y. So adorable and neighborhood-y that they have parties in the square, with live music and volleyball and food galore. So adorable and neighborhood-y that when I was walking around yesterday morning a little before 6, there were still people in the square drinking beer. Ya. Methinks these peeps know how to party.
Earlier, I flew into Quito from Cusco, and I didn´t do much. I had a day there, and I was still heavy with the sickness, so didn´t see a lot of Quito. What I did see, I didn´t completely love. I can´t get into the urban areas… I think I compare these cities to the big cities in America, and these are a lot different-in my eyes, not in a good way.
I took a two hour bus to Otavalo, stayed in a little village called San Pablo. My hotel was great, and a perfect respite to fight my evil illness. I hired a tour guide and did a 4 hour hike around Lake Cuicocha, which was awesome. The lake is actually an old volcano that erupted and then collapsed on itself.
Then we stopped by my guide´s friend´s house, and his wife was making string.
After Otavalo, I took a 6 hour bus ride to Baños, a small town surrounded by mountains and waterfalls, warm and humid and lovely. I rented a bike and had maybe the best day of my trip when I biked from Baños to Rio Verde. If I get sad one day and decide to run away, you know where to find me. Reference my “Ecuador found” page. I met a man named Arturo who gave me an impromptu tour of the village, including the waterfalls. He said he was a fisherman, so I asked him to take me fishing. We wandered down a trail by the river for about 30 minutes, along the way he told me about how everyone tries for hours and hours to catch the trout and they never catch any. Soon, we arrived at the spot where Arturo fishes, which turned out to be a makeshift fish hatchery of sorts. He had taken piping and flowed water from the river into various small pools, where he kept different sizes of trout. Awesome.
I found a horse on the side of the road. I think a “wild” horse, but it wasn´t afraid of me, so I´m not sure what that would be called…
Arturo and I went to the Baños Zoo, which was different because the signs with information for the animals included the “American name” for them. But, they were all wrong… i.e. there was a cheetah, which they called a cheetah, but it also said it was the American tiger. Fun.
Didn´t want to leave Baños but had to… 4 hour bus ride to Quito, good dinner in Quito, the next morning went to the airport early for my Galapagos flight, which was delayed for 3 hours. Finally got out of Quito to Guayaquil, and the flight there was delayed for an hour. Some ways the Galapagos are protected: airplane was fumigated (flight attendants had masks, passengers did not), disinfected shoes when arrived at Santa Cruz airport, disinfected hands when arrived at Santa Cruz airport, paid $100 to be allowed on the island. All well worth it.
Apparently, in the early morning light against the black rocks, the crabs in the Galapagos glow in the dark.
I spent all day yesterday at Tortuga Bay, relaxing on the white sand, listening to the waves, where my only distraction was a giant iguana who kept sneaking up on me when I was asleep. I think he was trying to steal my purse.
This pelican and I became BFF´s.
Today I went to the Darwin Research Center to see Lonesome George and the giiiiiiiiiiant turtles. They just stand around and eat all day, bunch of fatties. Adorable.
I don´t want to go home because I´m free like the wind.