Ecuador Journals

Ecuador and Galapagos Islands

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An August 2001 trip to Ecuador by Shannon Schiner

Blow Guns Photo, Ecuador, South America More Photos
Quote: Ecuador and the Galpapagos were always on my list of places to visit. Now they are on my list of places to live.

Ecuador and Galapagos Islands

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Overview

Blow Guns Photo, Ecuador, South America
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There are so many great memories...I don't know where to start. Shopping at the local markets, taking a canoe to our lodge on the Napo River, getting stuck in the mud! While in the Galpagos I'll never forget the seals swimming next to me, the blue footed boobies looking in my camera bag, or practicing my salsa dancing on the back of the boat! Ecuador is enchanting and I was heart broken to leave it behind.Quick Tips: Try the Fuente de Piedra Hostal II in Quito for great lodging at an excellent price! The owner, Hugo Torres, is an accomplished climber.Best Way To Get Around: While in Ecuador I prefered to walk; however, we hired a driver and guide to take us on the long trips! I ...Read More

Miami to Quito, Day 1

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Quito Photo, Ecuador, South America
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August 18, 2001 Flight from Miami to Quito. The landing at the airport was fast and hard…upon the jet coming to a screeching halt we were spit out on to the tarmac to walk into immigration! Not the most efficient immigration process ever, but definitely friendly enough. I was highly entertained by the man next to me in line, wearing bright orange leather pants and cowboy boots. Trying not to stare was difficult at best so luckily he was too wrapped strutting around in small circles to notice that I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him…although he probably would have been flattered by the attention. Orange and leather are two things that don’t go well together, not that any man should be wearin...Read More

Quito to the Napo (Amazon Basin), Day 2

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Home in the Napo Jungle Photo, Ecuador, South America
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August 19, 2001 No chance to sleep in! The traffic below was thundering by at about 6AM and as far as I can tell there is no law requiring mufflers or emissions testing. The first muffler free car zipping along the street below scared the wits out of me. In the end it was ok because we had an early departure for our lodge on the Napo River. When you look at Ecuador on a map it appears to be a very small country, so theoretically one would not think that it would take long to get from place to place. That is until one actually experiences the roads (often similar to the rutted wagon trails found in the 19th century N. American wild west) of the country. Leaving the main part of Quit...Read More

Life in the Amazon, Day 3

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Navigating the Napo Photo, Ecuador, South America
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August 20, 2001 There is nothing as wonderful as a full night of sleep in a soft bed and waking up to the sounds of the river and rainforest! It was fabulous to get up just after sunrise and watch the fog lift from the river and rainforest canopy. Joan and I sat on the balcony while the natives quietly paddled by in their small dugout canoes. After breakfast we were introduced to our native Quichua guide, Telmo, who would be leading us on our forest hike and river exploration. He helped us pick out knee high rubber boots (very sexy) and then announced he probably wouldn’t be swimming with us because he didn’t have anything under his shorts (shocking). We were loaded along with lunches...Read More

Amazon Basin to Andes Highlands, Day 4

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Devil's Pan Waterfall Photo, Ecuador, South America
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August 21, 2001 My hopes of seeing another spectacular sunrise were squished when I woke up to the sound of hammering rain! We had an early breakfast before taking the canoes back to our van for the transfer out of the rainforest. Pablo and I were the lucky ones who got to sit in the front of the canoe. Apparently it was our job to block the pouring rain from those sitting behind us! I put my sunglasses on to act as a shield, but I was wishing that I had a pair of ski goggles! Leaving the serenity and comfort behind was difficult, but I think that we were all eager to see what was around the next corner. Turned out the next corner held an even worse section of road to anything th...Read More
Indian Woman Photo, Ecuador, South America
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August 22, 2001 Shortly after waking up Joan called me to the window to look at what she had been watching for the past hour. Several small groups of Indians were walking up the road in front of the hacienda; they were dressed in traditional clothing and carrying goods to market or going off to work in the fields. Occasionally one of them would be leading or riding a donkey, very few had horses, and a couple went by with pigs, sheep, and goats in tow. It was fascinating to observe the contrast of the vehicles rushing by on the Pan-American Highway while the Indians walked along looking as if they had stepped out of a much earlier era. Joan’s favorite was a couple that passed by with the man...Read More

Quito to the Galapagos, Day 6

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Welcome to the Galapagos Photo, Ecuador, South America
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August 23, 2001 Early mornings kill me, this morning was no exception and unfortunately it was even earlier than usual. Jenny had arranged for us to depart for the domestic airport at 7:15am. After experiencing the quaint international side of the airport I was curious to see what amenities the domestic side would hold. Sparse is a fairly accurate description; there were 3 tickets counters, 2 phones, 8 chairs, a shoe-polishing stand, coffee wagon, and 2 booths selling phone cards. The security system consisted of 4 guys digging through your bags! Stepping on to our jet was like stepping back in time to the 1970’s…the thing was ancient by aviation standards. Tame is the national airl...Read More

Galapagos Baltra and Santa Cruz, Day 7

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Relaxing  Photo, Ecuador, South America
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August 24, 2001 Waking up on the boat was phenomenal. I rose from my bunk and threw on some clothes before rushing to climb up to the main deck; I really wanted to see the sunrise. Unfortunately when I emerged from the stairwell I noticed nothing but fog. This was ok; I still couldn’t believe my fortune of being on a boat in the middle of the Galapagos Island. The fog started to lift as everyone was waking up and making their way on to the deck. Water and two magnificent islands, one was black and the other was a brilliant red, surrounded us. Both islands looked extremely arid and made a striking contrast with the bright blue-green water. We had a filling breakfast, made by Francisc...Read More

Galapagos James Bay and Rabida, Day 8

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New Friends Photo, Ecuador, South America
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August 25, 2001 James Bay! Geologically not as striking as the day before, but this was the day that we were to see massive colonies of sea lions, fur seals, and marine iguanas. This was also the one island that had been previously inhabited and still had a soccer field, which thrilled the crew. Apparently they have weekly tournaments as their clients are walking around the area with the guide. I felt bad that Walter was taking us around as all of his work-mates were playing a lively game of fútbol. I suppose that’s just how it is with work sometimes… The first thing we saw after leaving the pangas was three baby sea lions practicing their swimming skills. I really would love to hav...Read More
Back to the City Photo, Ecuador, South America
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August 26, 2001 Our final hike in the Galápagos was this morning on North Seymour Island among the well known blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, red-eyed gulls, and sea lions. The boobies were truly amazing as they nested right in the middle of the trail and came waddling up to see what we were doing there. We witnessed more than one bird sitting on its nest, some with eggs and others with hatchlings. Their feet were a very bright shade of blue, azul azul, and looked strange sticking out from under their dull grayish and white bodies. The frigate birds were attempting to attract mates by blowing up the huge red pouches on their necks. An interesting spectacle to see a medium sized bird si...Read More