Monday, July 30, 2007

Galapagos Photos & Slideshow!

Click on the link below to check out the photo album from the Galapagos Islands or watch the slideshow here. It's crazy how close you can get to the animals there. They haven't evolved to run away from humans... yet.

Galapagos - Nemo 1 Adventure - July 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Galapagos Adventure

The Galapagos Top Five [Cool Things]:
1. The scariest looking animal was the vegan, salt-spitting marine iguana.
2. The biggest oldest land animals were the vegan land tortoises.
3. Swimming with penguins at the equator. So Galapagos.
4. Baby sea lions. So Cute. So Kawai.
5. Batfish. The Tammy Faye Bakker of the marine world. This creature has big thick black
eyelashes, blood-red lips, little legs it scuttled around on, and a winged body. And it praises Jesus in a world where Darwinism rules. See the photo below.

Honorary Cool Things:
-surviving 8 days on a boat only slightly sedated and confused on scopolamine... but not barfing a single day!
-best animal name: nudibranch.
-that the clumsy, careless blue-footed boobie has survived natural selection to this day. i guess Mother Nature has compassion too and endowed the Galapagos with next to no predators.

-Victor's AWEsome multi-course feasts for us on the boat - none of the meals on the 8 days was exactly the same. He even accounted for my lactose-intolerant pescaderian-vegetarian diet. And fresh jugos every morning! Victor was our boat chef.
-Mauricio's AWEsome dry-erase marker drawings of our itinerary and elaborate, articulate, knowledgeable explanations of the zany place that is the Galapagos. Mauricio was our naturalist guide.
-Mauricio's way of radio-ing for the "Nemo Nemo" crew to come pick us up on the islands.
-Jonathan's amazing ability to clean our tiny, salty, smelly submarine rooms into pristine, neat homes away from home. Jonathan was our super-nice, super-charming helper-outer.

-fun folks from Ecuador, Holland, Germany (via Argentina), Italy, Israel, Florida, Utah and good ol' California.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ecuador Mainland adventures

Ecuador Mainland Top Five [Crazy Things]:

1. The Ecuadorian national delicacy is guinea pig ("cuy" en espanol). Young Whan ate it. i even tried a bite. It came deep fried with its head, eyeballs and little contracted claws intact. Yes, we ate a rodent.

2. Banos: the whole entire town of Banos came to the Le Virgen Hot Springs (heated by volcanic activity)! It was a whole-town hot tub fiesta! i have never been to a hot springs pool where there were more bodies than water, as many children as adults. Even toddlers were soaking in the hot hot water. i tried not to think about pool-pee.

3. Otovalo: despite the mounds and mounds of yarn at the Otovalo market, i could not find a single vendor who sold natural wool (sheep, alpaca, llama) instead of synthetic acrylics. In a country that prides itself with textiles, this made me sad! Finally on the way to the bus station, i spotted a sheep's wool warehouse - a real wool wonderland. Needless to say, i had a bit of a shopping spree, buying yarn by the kilo.

4. Tourism: everywhere we went, 75% of the tourists seemed to come not just from the US but specifically from California. Man, quit following us around, people...

5. Politics: the new Ecuadorian president Correa is a progressive economist, elected with the blessings of the indigenous community and pissing off the wealthy community - we naturally became fans by default. Apparently he is proposing a project to avoid destroying biodiverse rainforest and indigenous land for petroleum drilling and development. He is asking the global community as well as Ecuadorians to donate enough (roughly $350 million a year) to make up for some of the losses Ecuador will take for not selling the petrol. Consider Gore's proposals to do carbon-swapping. Interesting...

Check out our photos from Ecuador Mainland! Click on the link to the Picasa album directly below or watch the mini slide-show from this site further below:

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