Posts Tagged ‘Galapagos’

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Chelsea: Why is everyone speaking English?

December 20, 2011

I am officially back at home in Illinois!

Last week my parents came to visit me in Ecuador – and despite some major problems with flights, we had a great week!

After finally picking them up at the airport, we headed back to stay with my host family in Quito! On Saturday, we went with my mom & brother around to different sites in Quito – we visited Mitad del Mundo (the Equator), the Basilica, and the historic center and on Sunday headed 2 hours north to Otavalo to visit the artisan market and the impressive waterfalls in Peguche. I had a great few days showing them my daily life in Quito and translating the conversations between my two families! We also visited my school on Monday and went up the mountain in a cable car. 

On Tuesday, we left for the Galápagos Islands to take a 4-day boat tour of a few of the northern islands. We had a fantastic trip! We visited a few islands, but got to see sea lions, giant tortoises, lizards, iguanas, crabs, and penguins and snorkel with sea lions, tropical fish, jelly fish, and sharks! An amazing experience with beautiful scenery and playful animals. We stayed on a small boat with only 5 other people and had a great time getting to know our boat-mates from Canada and Germany!

When we got back on Friday, we spent a final night with my family in Quito and went to La Ronda in the historic center to walk around, listen to some music, and drink some warm wine to celebrate my dad’s birthday!

Unfortunately on Saturday, we got delayed leaving Quito over 6 hours which caused us to miss our connection in Miami. After much time spent in the airport, we finally flew out (luckily) early Sunday morning and got home at about 4:00am…our bags got home over 30 hours later. But, despite the travel headaches, it was a fantastic last week in Ecuador and it feels good to be home! It’s weird hearing only English, throwing toilet paper in the toilet, and not eating rice everyday…but overall, it’s great to be home with a tiny bit of snow & I’m excited for the holidays! 

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Sara: Galapagos Islands!

November 7, 2011

I got back yesterday from the Galapagos Islands, it was so surreal being there and knowing all the history and theories of evolution behind it! I even got a picture with a statue of Charles Darwin. The first day we got there we went to the Charles Darwin Research Station and saw tons of animals from lizards and iguanas to finches and turtles. The iguanas were everywhere though, all over the beaches and in the streets. I am not a fan of them at all.

The second day we took a 1.5 hour boat ride to an island named Floreana. Here we hiked for awhile and then went snorkeling, I got to see tons of exotic tropical fish and we even swam with sea turtles. After we had lunch on the island and then took a truck ride (where we rode on the roof) to the inner part of the island to see some HUGE turtles and also to look at the pirate caves.  It was pretty amazing.

The third day we were there we walked to Tortuga Bay in the morning (a 45 minute walk) and then relaxed and swam at the beach, on the way there were iguanas everywhere bathing in the sun, we had to watch where we were walking. The beach was beautiful, white and sandy! Then in the afternoon we on another boat ride, a little shorter this time about 45 minutes to another island named Santa Fe. We couldn’t go on the island but we circled it in the boat and then jumped off for awhile and snorkeled.  It was so cool, a seal swam right underneath me and I could almost touch it, then the guide grabbed a starfish from the bottom of the ocean and we all got to hold it!

Finally on our way back we saw tons of manta-rays jumping out of the water and even a few sharks. We also saw the National Geographic Boat that was stationed off of one of the islands. The last day we went to these twin craters that were formed from the volcanoes near the islands, they were huge but really awesome to see!

It was an awesome trip overall, tons of wildlife and tons of beaches! I would love to go back anytime!

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Sara: Busy week

October 17, 2011

Wow this past week has been crazy for me! My friends and I went to “El Rey León” or The Lion King in 3D (and yes in Spanish).  It was super fun listening and watching the movie and all the songs in Spanish, but knowing what they were saying in English too.  I have been incredibly busy finishing classes here and working on tons of homework and essays! On the 24th of October I will be starting my internship in the ER and possibly also in a Psychology Office, but we’ll see about that one.

This past week I also planned my trip to the Galapagos Islands; I will be going November 1–4.  I am so excited we get to visit Tortuga Bay and the Charles Darwin Research Center.  The trip is going to be incredibly fun! I also had my first experience with the Ecuadorian Post Office this past week which was awful… I went to get a package my parents sent me on Thursday and they took a copy of my passport and told me to come back on Friday.  So I returned on Friday to get another slip of paper which said I needed to pay a tax for the package at the bank which was 8 blocks away.  I walked to the bank, walked back and waited another hour and a half for my package, and I was the only person in the Post Office waiting.  By the time I received my package and left it was 5:30 at night, it took me 2 days and 2.5 hours!  Although, the peanut butter that my parents sent me made it all worth it in the end! Here a little jar of peanut butter (12 oz.) costs about $6.00!

Right now though I am writing yet another essay and getting ready to move to Otavalo for 6 weeks.  This coming weekend I believe I am traveling to Baños, which is a volcano with a hot springs, so it will be a really nice break before starting my internship!  But I am halfway though my entire stay abroad which is crazy to think about, time is moving my so fast! I will be in Bolivia in no time!

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