Sharks, Machetes and Ingrid's family

Saturday, February 8, 2003
Well, my journey to Isla Isabella worked out great! They were the nicest people and I slept like a rock despite the fact that the ocean was kind of rough. Apparently there was an offshore earthquake near Mexico and the Galapagos has been feeling the effects. The waves turned out to be quite helpful for the Second Annual Surfing Competition though! A guy I met in the center of town informed me it was THE place to be last Saturday afternoon. Isabella is a phenomenal place. In the whole 9 days I spent there, I was one of 8 tourists on the whole island. I'm amazed more people don't spend time there while visiting the Galapagos, but it was fine with me, I had my own beach! Some of the more memorable things about the island were...

  1. Swimming with over 30 white tipped shark in a lava tunnel... I was terrified, but managed not to hyperventilate through my snorkel! I know they are supposed to not be harmful to humans, but still, the word shark IS involved.
  2. Riding a horse up to an active volcano. It last erupted in 1999 and you can stick your head into the fumurole and smell the sulfur still coming out!
  3. Swimming with the penguins and sea lions every day on the beach in front of my little cabana.
  4. Meeting an indigenous family (4 of the 8 tourists on the island) from Otavaleno, Ecuador. The woman always wears the indigenous clothing. Luis and Carmen are about my age and they have 2 little daughters. The 8 year old is now my penpal, she likes to laugh at my mistakes when I speak Spanish. They invited me to come for a visit next week, and I will surely go!
  5. Learning how to use a machete! I suppose learning to wield a machete on a deserted desert island with no medical facilities isn't the best idea... but I couldn´t resist! A palm full of coconuts fell off the tree in front of my window and I just had to open one. Then it was so fun I opened a whole bunch of them and put some rum into the coconuts. That's called a coco loco.
One night while walking down the beach with Julie we encountered the other 2 tourists that we hadn't met yet. We were under the impression that there weren´t really any bars on the island, which was fine..... but they told us the REAL story. Or rather, showed us. There is a bar, it´s called Berto's Bar and it's right on the beach, complete with 2 hammocks. Berto lives upstairs and he usually LOOKS like he's closed but really, there's just no customers so he goes upstairs where he lives. If you want a drink or a meal you just turn on the light of the bar (there are no walls, only a roof) and yell, Berto! and he comes down. Voila, the bar is open. He usually has one of whatever you are having and will probably play a song by a band from your country. He played a song by the group Boston for me. Berto also has a dog named I-Said-A-Hey. It is the first line from that cheesy, awful song by the Ketchup Girls... you know, that song you can't see to get away from no matter WHERE in the world you live.

After over 2 weeks in the Galapagos, it was time to go.... and so I took my friend Ingrid up on her offer to stay with her family in Guayaquil. Her mom picked me up at the airport and I got to see all the family photographs until her brother and his girlfriend came by to pick us up to go out for dinner at his new restaurant... his website is! Six months ago he opened a seafood restaurant and bar.... and it was the best seafood I have ever had!! Her family was so nice and welcoming it was a shame I could only spend a day with them. Thanks for the invitation Ingrid!

Tomorrow I'm taking a scenic train to Banos to czech out the thermal baths (carla - that word is for you!). Apparently they let you sit on TOP of the train. I can't wait! Only one more month and my trip is coming to an end.... Boston here I come!


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