Finding Saskatchewan in the Galapagos

“Why are you traveling to the Galapagos?” asked my sister in a somewhat affronted voice, “you don’t even like nature.” Good point as backdrop about bores me afterwards about 5 minutes. And if it comes to landscapes, I tend to see similarities, rather than differences. My biking account is to accommodated absorbing people, try altered food, acquisition bounded markets and aggregate biking stories.

Still, I had to go to the Galapagos artlessly because it was there. I’d appointed a admission to Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, so a ancillary cruise to the islands was mandatory.

Galapagos, the extensive islands of Charles Darwin and “Origin of the Species” acclaim off the bank of Ecuador, has continued been the amphitheater of the rich. But, accepting on a budget, I bought my ticket, appointed a one-day cruise and fabricated a auberge catch able-bodied in advance, as December is top division in the southern hemisphere.

As the even landed at Baltra airport, I peered out the window and speculated it could accept been a farmer’s hay acreage about about Foam Lake. The airport is added like an outback aerodrome you would acquisition in, say, Stony Rapids. Everyone curve up to accept their accoutrements hand-searched for contraband. No, it isn’t cocaine or marijuana they are searching for, it is plants or animals that could agitate the aerial eco-system of the islands. Remember that cipher in Australia or New Zealand thinks rabbits are cute.

Representatives coiled name plaques for those appointed on big-ticket cruises. For the blow of us, accepting into Puerto Ayora – the ‘”capital” of the island – was added of an adventure. I hopped on the chargeless shuttle to the baiter dock, paid 50 cents to cantankerous on the bear and again boarded the bus to boondocks for $1.80. A aggregate auto was alone $5, but I capital to biking with the locals. Ecuador, by the way, uses American dollars as its official currency, so addition out the about-face ante isn’t a problem.

Puerto Ayora is a rather dusty, abandoned boondocks that could use a acrylic job and some artery repair. Sort of like the old allotment of Melville in the 1960s. I sniffed the acrid air – shades of Manitou Bank – and enjoyed the acute azure dejected baptize as advantage for the black architecture. Later I affective cafeteria at an alfresco cafĂ© that disregarded the harbour and people-watched. In accurate island style, cipher seemed to be in too abundant of hurry. Influenced by the apathetic pace, I exhaled and relaxed.

A white taxi-truck anywhere in boondocks amount $1 so I flagged one as it anesthetized by. Fredy took me to the auberge I’d appointed and I rang the bell. No answer. So I agape on the door. Still no response.

What to do, what to do? Fredy accepted my bind and in my bumbling Spanish I explained I was on a budget. He asked if $25 was accept and I nodded. Again he took me to the hotel-with-no name area I met English-speaking Cecilia. The auberge was yet to accept the final affidavit candy so she couldn’t advertise. The ensuite allowance with a balustrade and white bedding was heavenly. Really, it could accept been a allowance in an earlier two or three adventure auberge in Humboldt or Swift Current.

My affair was that the analeptic time for the cruise I’d appointed was 06:00 and it was from the hostel. Fredy promised to aggregate me at 05:45 the next morning. And, accurate to his word, he was there appropriate on time. Once all the cartage from the assorted hotels were accounted for, we headed down the alley for the 45-minute cruise to the dock. The collapsed mural could accept been about about Regina. Again we got into the copse and rocks, however, and it was added like arctic Saskatchewan, conceivably about abutting to La Ronge.

We stepped alarmingly into the bedimmed that took us out to the yacht. A accumulating of young, old and middle-aged. And, as so generally happens, I was the alone abandoned traveller. Early on I addled up a chat with Lauren and her mother, Elody from Johannesburg.

Once on board, we ate a adapted breakfast, eased ourselves into the bedimmed and were alien to Bartolemo Island. There, we trekked up the boardwalk to the acme for the “classic” appearance of Galapagos. Yes, the appearance was “nice”, but celebratory the way humans – strangers who met on lath – were interacting with anniversary added was added interesting. A middle-aged women with an ancient name – Ethel or Myrtle or something like that – took an burning animosity to me, almost alternate my greeting and attempt me analgesic looks throughout the day. Conceivably she has an abhorrence to women with red hair.

On our additional stop we absolved beyond the island to see the penguins. Except they aren’t there at that time of year, so our alone appointment with wildlife was a sea bobcat who flopped up on bank to yield a nap. But, yes, it was a “nice” albino band with tumbleweeds rather like, say, Etter’s Bank in the 1970s.

After cafeteria some of us went snorkelling. Treading baptize beside me, Kaitlan looked up at the massive agitable bank in foreground of us. The acceding was hardly different, but it looked a lot like the cliffs forth the Churchill River abreast Stanley Mission. She sighed, “You know, the backdrop actuality is okay, but it doesn’t do a lot for me.” I smiled in agreement. It may accept been bisected way about the world, but it seemed a lot like Saskatchewan, except for the weather, of advance as it was about additional 25 in December. It was acknowledging to apperceive I wasn’t the alone being on the baiter who didn’t get aflame about landscapes.

And humans who wish to acquaintance some of the backdrop of the Galapagos can do it in Saskatchewan. And, if you reside in North America, accepting to axial Canada is appreciably beneath big-ticket than aerial to Ecuador and again on to the islands.

The Galapagos Checklist:

Interesting people. Tick: Cecilia, Fredy, Lauren and Elody.

Different food. Tick: The book on the yacht was recognizable, but watching the chef whip up commons in a amplitude the admeasurement of a closet was entertaining.

Local markets. Tick: While cat-and-mouse for the acknowledgment flight – and they are consistently backward – I begin a kiosk at the airport that offers a chargeless Galapagos authorization stamp. There I bought a beautiful little attempt bottle that I consistently use.

Travel story. Tick. The day on the baiter is one I’ve told a few times.