Adventures in South America

Chapter 12 - Bye bye South America

But no, it isn't only our lucky day, it begins to seem like our lucky week !!! The following morning we go to Bartolome island, and there have the opportunity to swim with sea lions. These animals are so sweet and curious underwater as well - they swim fast and like to play with you the "almost crush" game - they swim fast directly towards you, and only on the very last moment, turn and avoid crushing in your face...

Swimming with sea lions doesn't demand luck at all, our luck is that we swim also with... penguins !!! It's really weird to see these arctic animals here at the equator !!! The reason for that is a cold current from the pole which cools the sea water. Further on today we visit Santiago island where we land on Puerto Egas and see marine iguanas, red Sally Lightfoot crabs and 3 kinds of herons (birds).

The following day is a bit "weak" in comparison with the former: we visit Rabida island and see Flamingos, Galapagos hawks, doves and in the water - sharks and mantra fish. In the evening we arrive to Puerto Ayora, the biggest village in the Archipelago, where we thought to look for a cruise, but thanks to Victor, we didn't need to.

And here, surprise !!! Since there are not enough new tourists to join the new weekly tour of the boat, it will not continue, and thus we find ourselves on the streets in Puerto Ayora looking for a boat... Our friend Victor isn't so much a friend anymore, especially when he refuses to give us our money back (lucky us that we've paid only for 5 days, so we loose only a day). The fact that we have a written contract with Victor and the boat Captain doesn't help. Even not in the tourist information, nor with the police (you know, these third world countries...).

The following day is Yom Kipur eve. It's the Jewish most important holiday, when one asks pardon for all the sins he has committed during the past year. In this day one cannot eat, drink, watch TV or do any operation which will disrupt his mind. We try intensively to find a boat today, before the fast . We try everywhere, almost every hour, but without success. The season is almost over, and the boat owners take the boats ashore in order to fix them before the beginning of next year's season.

Like that, not only were we fasting during Yom Kipur, but strolling around the streets of Puerto Ayora as well. And if you didn't understand it fully, it means walking in the heat of the equator without drinking anything. Not so nice an experience.

In late afternoon we find a lousy miniature boat and decide to go for it (we already know Puerto Ayora by hart, and had more than enough). In the evening, on board, we eat supper, after 26 hours of fasting...

With that boat we visit the islands of South Plaza (where there is an endemic kind of land iguana), Santa Fe (another endemic kind of land iguanas), Espanola (lots of boobies - blue footed and also masked) and Floreana (no special animals, we visit "post office bay": There is a barrel there, where passing-by sailors put and take letters. Put - the letters they wish to send home, and Take - the letters that others have put, to destinations that they are going to be. The idea is simple - you put your letters (no need for stamps) and take letters to your country where you are supposed to buy stamps and mail it by surface. Then (more than a hundred years ago) it was a serious matter, nowadays it's a tourists curiose).

Mask Booby - as taken on Espanola Island.

I write "that boat" because it was an anti-climax to our former boat. No air conditioning, self service meals, we had to weep the table, the boat is small and moves A LOT by the waves, no toilets in your room, and above all - the only 2 toilets that you do have on board aren't flushing toilets - this means that one needs to pump his shit away (disgusting ! and sometimes a very difficult task (e.g. if you ate a lot the day before...))

Like that we are rather happy to be back 3 days later, and then fly out to Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. As we don't like big cities, we leave our heavy bags in a guest house (we will be flying to USA from Quito, in 4 days) and go to Otavalo, a nice small village were one can rest and buy art crafts. We rent a "suite" (we wanted to have flashing toilets next to us...) with a TV (what a luxury !!!) on which we see some news about Israel (an earthquake) and enjoy very much the comfort, the art crafts (among them 2 big tapestries and one big wood turtle) that can be seen in our apartment, the trouts made on BBQs on the streets (less than a dollar for 300 gram fish) and above all the "pie shop" where we eat wonderful fruit pies and drink delicious hot chocolates (pure fresh milk).

From Quito we fly to Miami (stop-overs in Guayaquil and San Jose, Costa Rica) from were we rent a car and drive to Orlando (Disney-World, Epcot center, Wet & Wild, Universal studios - special Halloween evening (frightening, well done)). One can say that after 3 months in south America, it IS a BIG culture shot for us...

4 days later, we fly to NY (sightseeing for Tali and shopping for both of us) and from there, a llllllloooooonnnnnnggggggg limousine takes us to the airport (only 40 box !!!) - a coooooool end to a lllllooooonnnnngggggg trip !

The famous iguanas of the Galapagos Islands.

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Last modified: Fri Jun 10th 13:03:08 IST 1999