|January 17th - January 19th
Blog entry by Jaqui, Kati, AJ, Allison, Joni
Things we have learned during our stay in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands:
Flushing toilet paper down the toilet is a big NO NO! Notices regarding this are all over the place. Garbage cans are usually placed next to the toilet and serve as a disposal for paper, but are occasionally forgotten.
Always pack extra clothes in your carry-on baggage in case you happen to spend the night in Guayaquil. The flight that Tasha, Katy, Joni and Tamra were on from Houston to Quito was diverted due to bad weather. They ended up in Quayaquil, about 100 miles away from Quito, and were not allowed to get to their checked luggage until the next day when they arrived in Quito.
Don’t count on having hot water for your shower. Even if it has been explicitly advertised and promised.
Be cautious of little children who love to play with digital cameras. We met two little boys today during our lunch in Puerto Ayora. They were very interested in our cameras and enjoyed getting their pictures taken. However, it wasn’t long until they wanted to be the photographers and getting the cameras back was difficult.
Barter, Barter, Barter! Shopping here is all about bargaining.
When a Sea Turtle surfaces, snap the photo pronto. There was a Sea Turtle hanging around the dock where we ate lunch one day, but it wouldn’t surface for very long. It was difficult to get a nice picture unless you were speedy at getting your camera ready. This goes for Rays, too. We also saw a lot of Marine Iguanas in the same area. Unlike our Turtle and Ray friends, the Iguanas were huge camera hams!
Don’t touch the turtles and don’t stand on their feeding platform. You will get yelled at! Plus, do you think they like the idea of you standing on their dinner table?
Beware of the Iguanas! They may seem timid enough, but they will show their feisty side if necessary. This goes for the wild dogs, too!
Remember to bring an electrical outlet converter. We were able to obtain a couple from the hotel, but that doesn’t suffice when eleven college students are involved.
Always have your Spanish-English dictionary handy. You never know when you might want to say, “Me permite llevarie a casa? (May I take you home?)” or “Tengo un dolor de muela que me vuelve loco. (I have a toothache that is driving me crazy.)”
Know your weight limits…when it comes to checked baggage. Too much is always better than not enough, except when you exceed the airline luggage weight limits. Besides, customs wouldn’t let you take that 150 year-old turtle home anyways.
When disembarking the plane, be sure you have sunscreen, water and cooler clothes. Odds are, you will make a few stops along the way to your hotel.
What’s in your wallet? You don’t need a Capital One card, but make sure you have a Mastercard in case you run low on cash. Some shops will accept Visa, but the bank will only let you withdraw cash using a Mastercard.
Be sure to set your watch to “Island Time.” In other words, don’t wear one. Daily life here is much more laid backed than in the states. For example, the average time it takes to receive a pizza is about 60-90 minutes. And don’t forget about the 12-3 pm daily siesta.
Swim suits and flip flops are not appropriate attire to wear when trekking through lava beds. We were able to go ashore at one of our snorkeling stops, but didn’t know that before leaving our hotel. We had a flip-flop blow-out and many sunburned oceanographers by the time the day was over.
What happened to crosswalk laws? You know it’s bad when the cops don’t even stop for pedestrians - in a crosswalk or not.
Roosters don’t always crow at the crack of dawn. We decided that they are determined to disturbed the sleep of tourists who are not used to them by crowing at awful hours of the night and morning…11 pm and 3 am, for example.