Ecuador Day 6

Hi Everyone

How did our day start in Guayaquil? Got up at 5:30 and went down for breakfast with my IPAD to read. Whenever I travel, I never watch TV and always read. Have become accustomed to reading electronic books and now find it almost impossible to read real books. How the world has changed. The question is has it changed for the better?

After drinking about ten cups of good coffee, I went upstairs and went back to sleep. I have a strange body chemistry.

We had a lecture at 10 AM on wildlife photography. The lecture lasted over ninety minutes and we went over all of our cameras, settings and lenses. Also included was some review of the environment we will be entering tomorrow in the Galapagos. It is important to know your location and the challenges it will bring. If you are doing photography in a wet location, you need to bring special covers and protection for your gear. I have done photography in locations where the temperature dropped to almost forty below. Your camera freezes quickly and your batteries have very short power lives. You need to compensate for all this and even if you do, challenges still arise once you are there.

After our lecture, we went to a local restaurant for our group introduction lunch. Six new members have joined us. We are now a group of sixteen including Andy and Lisa, our leaders. Our boat only accommodates sixteen people plus a crew of ten. The boats name is the “Natural Paradise”. The boat is 111 feet long and the pictures and reviews are exceptional. The lunch was served in a restaurant that looked like someones former home with old pictures hanging on the walls. I ordered the mixed grill seafood platter. It was fabulous. The squid melted in my mouth and the shrimp was so sweet and tasty.

After lunch some of the group went back to the hotel and the other half went for a walk to the Malecon. Guayaquil is located on a river that leads into the Pacific Ocean. Once we reached the entrance to the Malecon, you had to walk up 444 steps to the top. Each step was numbered with a tile and its number so I now that that number is correct. This was all done in “Africa Hot” humidity. My beautiful wife Olivia, on one of our trips to Cambodia, coined that term. Once you reach the top, you then see a lighthouse and church. At the back of the church, you look down into a barrio. The barrio is made up of colorful houses on a hillside. The barrio is named “Las Penas”. By the way, the stairs are lined with cafes and shops. Las Penas was the first neighborhood of Guayaquil and was built over four hundred years ago. People live there today.

After walking back down the 444 steps, half of the remaining group took a taxi back to the hotel and the remaining half decided to walk back on the malecon. I decided to walk back since I doubt I will ever be here again and wanted to see more of the city. We eventually found the malecon and walked past people strolling and sitting on benches watching the river pass by. Eventually we had to make a right hand turn onto a main avenue and then walk about ten blocks to our hotel. The sweat started to engulf me. There were young people selling “Agua”and lots of shops and snacks being sold. I had to stop and buy some bottled water and it felt like I was starting to dehydrate. We stopped at a local church that was quite beautiful and continued walking into a large park. There were statues all over the park and a big water fountain in the middle. Then I saw it. An oasis in my mind. The hotel. How I could not wait to take a nice cold shower and lay down in my huge soft bed.

After dozing off, I went down to the bar and met the group for some drinks and conversation. The new participants fit in well with us and we should have a great trip.

It is now 10:22 PM. I will be signing off for the next eight days. No internet nor cell phone service in the Galapagos. How many of us can endure this reality? I have been without cell phone service before on some previous trips. Most of Mongolia and Antartica have no internet nor cell phone service. Most of you know what I do with my blog when these harsh conditions happen, but I will tell everyone again. I still write my daily blog since the memories and details are fresh in my mind. I write them on my laptop or IPAD and then copy and paste onto my website when I return. Don’t fret, you will not get eight blog notifications when I return. I still publish one each day so that people get to read them on a daily basis.

Wake up time is 5 AM. We are leaving the hotel at 6:45 for a three hour flight to the Galapagos. The Galapagos is six hundred miles from the coast of Ecuador. Get ready to visit one of the most unique places in the world and see creatures that only live there and no where else.

Thats it. Hope the world is around when I return