Comrades! (I'm trying to get into the revolutionary spirit!)

Forty minutes after arriving in Quito Equador, we were mugged. As muggings go, this was a '10', since we were unharmed and only lost $40. Apparently, wandering the streets at 1am looking for an ATM machine is a nice way to attract the attention of six strapping young lads searching for a bit of pocket change.

The day after we arrived, we flew to the Galapagos. Paying the tour agent at the airport necessitated Robyn and Nikki (robyn's friend) passing $1500 to the agent in the women's bathroom. This might have been a bit more convenient if the ATM machines in Equador didn't dispense money in lots of $100 in $5 and $1(!) dollar bills! The stack of cash was two inches thick and took 30 minutes to count 3 times.

Best thing about equador - 50 cent half liter beers. Worst thing about equador - a Spanish language keyboard layout designed to drive the proletariat insane.

In the Galapagos, we hooked up with a sixteen passenger boat which we took around the islands for eight days. Our crew and fellow passengers were all awesome. I had been skeptical of the Galapagos as I mainly wanted to see Cheetahs and Gazelles, which seem to be in short supply there. But, we were blown away by the nature experience. It was easily our best nature experience thus far. Each day we got to snorkle and play with galapagos sea lions, who like to turn upside down and swim to within two inches of your mask before darting to the next playmate. Robyn and I have perfected our now famous albatross mating ritual, which involves a lot of teeth clacking, beak fencing and most importantly - strutting. This can be demonstrated in the future on demand. 

The coolest thing about the Galapagos is that all the animals are completely oblivious to your presence. so you can get 1 foot from 300kg mating land tortoises (yowsers!), sea iguanas, land iguanas, blue footed boobies (which have bright blue feet), frigate birds (that attract mates by blowing up a red balloon sized pouch in their neck), albatrosses performing courtship rituals and a few other things.

Equally cool was the geography. The Galapagos straddle the equator and are beautiful islands. Sailing from one island to the next typically involved an evening glass of wine while sailing past volcanoes and under brilliant stars - the only place i've observed the big dipper and southern cross simultaneously.

Tomorrow we head to an indigenous market town in the Andes and then we will search for some white water rafting.

Today's omnipresent email cafes on the backpacker trail are new and welcome to us - standing in line at the poste restante to receive nothing seems like an archaic memory. So email us, please! Thanks to those of you who have already
emailed us.

Long live the summer vacations!
Quito Party Cell. (love keir and robyn)

$1000 in one and five dollar bills from Equador's ATM machines.
Robyn, Nikki and others cruising on top of our boat.
Our daily island briefing by our guide, Juan who is the black man with the base ball cap.
One of the turtles on Santa Cruz.
The Albatross' mating ritual.

Created: September 06, 2000
Last modified: September 06, 2000
Maintainer: Keir Paesel