Monday, August 24, 2009

Hurry up and wait.

The alarm went off at 5am. Yay and boo. It was far too early to be up. Moving slowly we got ready and dragged our stuff down to reception. Marlon had arranged for a junior guide to take us on a quick tour around Santa Cruz. And despite the early hour, Oscar was waiting for us. We dumped our bags behind the reception desk and then headed out to the Charles Darwin Station. We started on foot and then Oscar flagged down a cab and good thing because our bodies were starting to ache from all the abuse over the last 4 days. Horseback riding, bumpy boat rides, mountain biking, and more bumpy boat rides. Oscar asked us for a dollar because he didn’t have any change to pay. But told us he’d pay us back later. A little weird but it had happened to us a few times. The station was empty and at least the sun was now edging it’s way into the sky. We walked through and Oscar did his best to explain something new about the tortoises and iguanas we were looking at however after 4 days of wildlife spotting we’d heard it all before.

What we hadn’t seen was Lonesome George, so named because he was the last tortoise of his species. He was indeed very lonesome looking despite the two females they had in with him. The females were from another species and the hope was that they were close enough that one day George won’t be so lonesome, if you know what I mean. He didn’t seem to be too interested in the chicks and unless someone put on the Barry White soon it looked like he was going to be lonesome forever. Another new sight was the Galapagos land iguanas. The station had two of the last hundred on the islands. Apparently, they were just too tasty for the islanders as well as all the cats, dogs and goats the settlers brought with them. So there was a breeding program in place for them too. The rest of the station was still closed and good thing because our hour was up and to see the rest would take at least a couple more hours. We caught another cab back to the hotel which we paid for again but before we could get our money back Oscar disappeared. Oh well, I guess it was his self-appointed tip.

Now it was time for a quick breakfast and the official goodbye. The boys were up – of course it was breakfast – but the other 3 were not around. Marlon was a little worried but it was actually his fault. Last night he had told the boys 7am and the rest of us 7:30 for breakfast. But he meant a 7:30 departure. The confusion continued when I asked him who was taking us to the airport. He made a bunch of hurried phone calls and then told us we’d be picked up at 8am by a bus. Then it was a quick goodbye to everyone as they headed off for the rest of the tour.

Closer to 8:30 the bus showed up and we joined another group who were heading to the airport on the other side of the island. On the way we stopped at Los Gemelos – twin sinkholes in the mist (photo above). Then it was back on the highway to the Baltra ferry. Now the sun was out and the water was the beautiful azul colour I’d always imagined it was going to be. Of course it was, now that we were leaving. The ferry crossed the channel and we were shuttled onto another bus that dropped us off at the airport. The airport was heaving with tourists and their massive amounts of luggage. The guide took our passports and rushed off to get our boarding passes. Bad news, we’d been bumped to the 12:30 flight. The guide claimed the 10:30 flight was now only going to Quito but I just think we got there too late and the airline had sold our seats. Great that meant we now had to spend an extra two hours at the small airport, two hours when we could have been sleeping.

The 12:30 flight finally arrived at 1 and we boarded for the short but relaxing hop back to Guayaquil. Back at the hostel it felt nice to see some familiar faces – kinda like coming home after a trip. We were later than we planned back that was okay it gave us an excuse to do nothing. Finally, the joys of doing nothing.

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