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Final Thoughts…Ecuador

Friday, June 20th, 2008


By the Numbers

  • Number of check-ins during our Quito hotel tour: 7
  • Number of pounds Mel shed in a desperate bid to not return to Toronto at her all-time highest weight: 7ish
  • Days of consecutive sobriety after all that wine in Argentina: 16
  • Number of new monkey species: 7
  • Number of sea lions spotted: 1,000 at least
  • Number of photos taken in the Galapagos Islands: over 2,500


  • The Amazon – the sounds and sights of a magical jungle and river
  • Leather shopping in Cotacachi – we´re not proud, but we did buy 3 more leather jackets (2 for Brendan, 1 for Jack)
  • Bird-watching – in the cloudforest, in the Amazon, in the Galapagos
  • Shopping (and bargaining) in Otavalo
  • Galapagos wildlife: sea lions, penguins, blue footed boobies, iguanas, tortoises, fur seals, birds…

Moments We´d Rather Forget

  • Some pretty big Brel arguments…proof that 5 months of 24/7 is really, really hard
  • Ecuadorian food – from plain to pitiful (though B enjoyed the ceviche)
  • The daily rain and some pretty cold days on Quito
  • Some sea sickness on our yacht in the Galapagos Islands

Memorable Quotes

  • “If kittens weren´t so cute, we´d be chowing down on them.” (Scott, during a discussion of random animals eaten in the Amazon)
  • “It kind of tastes like I´m licking a goat.” (Brendan, while describing a kind of goat cheese)

Brendan´s Iguanas

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Hey B….I like you too!

Brendan was a bit obsessed with taking photos of the many endemic iguanas in the Galapagos, so it seemed wrong to not have a blog dedicated to them. You have no idea how many hundreds of pictures I had to filter through to pick these photos. Enjoy.

Pile of iguanas keeping each other warmSunning themselves…Land iguanasHaving a snack

Lonesome George

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
Mel hanging with a tortoise The Galapagos Islands are famous for their giant tortoises - in fact they were named for them. Here you can see 200 kg tortoises measuring over 1 metre in length. Humans have ... [Continue reading this entry]

Birds of Galapagos

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
 Nazca Boobies There are all sorts of endemic birds in the Galapagos Islands. Some highlights for your reading and viewing pleasure:

Party Under the Sea – Black-Tie Optional

Monday, June 16th, 2008
Galapagos Penguin Snorkeling opportunities abound in the Galapagos Islands - there are multi-colored fish, sharks, octopus, sea horses, turtles, starfish... The most exciting thing to spot however, is the Galapagos Penguin. Endemic to this area, the penguins ... [Continue reading this entry]

Home Sweet Home – The GAP Adventurer V

Monday, June 16th, 2008
Our yacht With memories of our sailing trip in Brazil still fresh in our minds (16 bunk-beds in one room, no showers, crazy toilet ritual, etc.), we were pleasantly ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Best Boobie Show in Town

Sunday, June 15th, 2008
Whatchyou lookin´at? Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Galapagos Islands is spotting the blue-footed boobie.  (insert boobie joke here). About the size of sea gulls, the blue-footed boobies have, well, blue feet. The mating ritual involve ... [Continue reading this entry]

Sea Lions and Brel – Kindred Spirits

Saturday, June 14th, 2008
Brel? Lounge in the sun. Take a few steps. Flop down. Swim in the sea. Repeat. Such is the life of the Galapagos sea lion. Sound familiar? Hundreds of sea lions line the rocky shores of most of the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Galapagos 101 – Survival of the Fittest

Saturday, June 14th, 2008
Welcome to Galapagos! I remember as an 11 year-old, waking early every Saturday morning to watch Jack Hanna´s Animal Adventures. For a few years, Jack focused exclusively on the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. With every tortoise, ... [Continue reading this entry]

More Amazon Photos

Thursday, June 12th, 2008
 Return of the Titi monkey As predicted back in Costa Rica, the thrill of seeing monkeys has yet to wear off.

The real thing…an anaconda[Continue reading this entry]

Special Blog for Jack – Frogs!

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
 la-selva-day-3-033.jpg (Jack is Mel´s 4 year-old nephew) Hi Jack! You would have loved the Amazon!  We saw all sorts of frogs: poison-dart frogs, tree frogs, glass frogs and a bunch I don´t remember the names of. We thought you might enjoy ... [Continue reading this entry]

98% DEET, 100% Amazon

Sunday, June 8th, 2008
A paddle down the Amazon  Getting to La Selva Lodge ( isn´t easy: the journey begins with a flight from Quito, followed by a 2.5 hour ride in a motorized dug-out canoe along the Napo River, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Playing Pioneer

Friday, June 6th, 2008
 Home sweet home… In a country with as much history as Ecuador, it seemed only right for Brel to spend the night in the oldest hacienda, 400 year-old La Guachala. Amidst our antique furniture, we easily slipped into the ... [Continue reading this entry]

Mitad del Mundo

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
  No visit to Ecuador would be complete without a visit to the place where the middle of the world was declared, in 1736 . The equator, the widest part of the world, crosses only 7 countries. The museum at ... [Continue reading this entry]

Lessons Learned in South America´s Largest Artesan Market

Monday, June 2nd, 2008
We find ourselves in Otavalo, Ecuador, home to South America´s largest outdoor market. I should have anticipated this would be trouble.   Lessons learned:  1. Markets are a lot of fun. I actually hyperventilated a little when I saw it. 2. Bargaining makes me feel good. It doesn´t ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Middle of the World

Thursday, May 29th, 2008
 Hummingbirds  It´s high time Brel spent some time apart. And with Brendan writing away and working hard to meet deadlines, I ventured into the Ecuadorian cloudforest for the weekend. Two hours from Quito (the capital and largest city ... [Continue reading this entry]