Our Semi-Amazing Race
April 1, 2007
Today started with a mission: Find a Galapagos trip.
Problem with this mission: Today is a Sunday. Everything is closed on Sundays.
Dara, Lisa and I were told last night that the travel agencies were going to be open at 8am today. We woke up at 7:30am to be there
for when they opened. This was when we would find out that everything is closed in this city on Sundays.
We decided to regroup at a hotel restaurant to wait for things in this city to open. We figured out an agenda.
It really wasn’t much of an agenda; it just consisted of going to an internet café to get some information. While we were there, we
decided that we would be willing to hop on a plane in hopes of finding a trip once arriving in the Galapagos. This led to us hopping in
a taxi to go to the airport to attempt to get plane tickets for tomorrow morning. (Thankfully this taxi driver was in much less of a
hurry than the one last night that took us from the bus station – Lisa and I were literally grasping each other’s hands while we were
in a non-lane sandwiched in between two buses.) This would also be when we would find out that there are no flights available until
April 15th. However, they did say that we could come back in the morning and try to go standby. So that is where the plan now
stands for tomorrow: packing up my stuff and heading not-so-bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed to the Guayaquil airport first thing in
So we experienced Strike 1 today. Strike 2 will happen if we can’t find a flight to get on. But we still won’t be out at that point. That
will be the point when we take a taxi to the travel agency to see what trips they might have available (it seems like they might have
a reserve of flights). Now if that doesn’t work then that will be my Strike 3 and I might just have to throw in the Galapagos towel at
that point. I am really, really hoping it doesn’t come to that point.
Now it was time to make the most of our day in Guayaquil. We got dropped off at the Malecon – the long waterfront development.
We first headed up the very-colorful-yet-very-touristy stairway to a tower. The view was fine yet the river looked pretty darn
swampy. All we knew that it was damn hot. Holy humidity! But the positive that comes from such a climate is that I no longer have
the chapped lips that I had while I was in the altitude of Bolivia and Peru. That alone is worth it to me!
We walked down the Malecon and watched the families with their kiddies – and let me just say that this promenade area is like a
kiddie wonderland. Fountains and towers and swingsets, etc. It was very nicely landscaped – I actually felt like I was back in
Brisbane, Australia. Once I got that thought in my head, it was weird to think that it was actually Ecuador that I was in.
We went to a little café. There was a song that was playing that was from back-in-the-day. But what was it??? I couldn’t put my
finger on it. It was older. I was getting into it. But none of us knew what it was. I finally asked the man who worked at the café. He
came over with a napkin that he doodled something on. It was the name of the group: Air Supply. Was I really sitting there
enjoying the sounds of Air Supply? It then got worse. We were then trying to remember other Air Supply songs. I was belting out
“I’m all out of love. I’m so lost without you…” Apparently those late-at-night infomercials for 80s CDs have really stuck with me.
Our last Guayaquil excursion was to visit the iguanas at one of the parks. Lisa, who had never seen an iguana, was a bit freaked out
by their appearance. She didn’t like how they reminded her of mini-dinosaurs. I, on the other hand, thought they were great. They
had no problem with people petting them. There were also some turtles on the premises. We all came away learning something
about turtles – they have no problem with eating their own. We know this because one turtle was tugging away at a smaller turtle.
After a few minutes of this, we deduced that the small guy must be dead. It was confirmed when we saw the big guy chomping and
chewing away at different body parts. Need I say ‘Disgusting!’???
As we were going back to our hotel, we passed a row of women doing artistic things with greenery. I thought it was an ‘Ecuador
thing’. I came to learn it was actually a ‘Palm Sunday’ thing. Call me Jewish, but I had no idea that Catholics get palm thingies on
Palm Sunday. The things a person can learn when they are in a Catholic country…
Well, I have to say it. I am officially done with Guayaquil. I am ready to blow this joint. Hopefully we get a flight out of here. If not, it
is to the travel agency we go. And in that case, I will go to another Ecuadorian city while waiting for my trip to leave. I hope my
optimism is going to work. I hope that there will be a flight to be on. Only time will tell…
April 2, 2007
We are now at the airport. Hoping to get on a standby list. Any standby list. Being here the week before Easter (their busiest travel
week) definitely does not have its privileges…
No flights left. Strike Two. Down but not out. It is now time to head to the travel agency in town...
I got a trip! What a relief! I realized that my desire to go to the Galapagos had increased ten-fold in the past two days and I would
have been crushed if I didn't get to go. But now I don't have to worry about that. Because I am going! My trip leaves on the 6th.
That gives me enough time to blow this joint and go to the bus terminal en route to Cuenca so I can enjoy some time out there.
At the stairway at the end of the Malecon.
Me and an iguana.