The International Journal of Sport and Leisure
(Some sport. Some leisure. Also, schistosomiasis.)
Galapagos Islands (5)
About Me (1)
Ecuador: Quito (5)
Honduras: Utila (4)
Rio de Janeiro (2)
South Africa (13)
Temporary Update (1)
* South of Durban
* Escape from the Cape
* Skydiving for Bacon
* Rage Against the Machine
* Bite Me
* Africa Cold
* Scum-Dodging on Long Street
* Cable Cars, Lentil Soup and Bart Simpson
* Cape Town
* Cape Drear
* Lows of Travel ("Welcome to Africa")
* High Entertainment
* Paradise or Miami Vice? (Part 2 of 2)
* Paradise or Miami Vice? (Part 1 of 2)
* Don't Make Me Cry, Argentina
* Hago el Vago en Buenos Aires (Part III: Final Week)
* Gloom at the Top
* Its The End Of The World As I Know It
* Perito Moreno Glacier
November 02, 2004
Day of the Deadhead
Tuesday, November 2, 2004:
The day was spent waiting anxiously.
It had been my intention to fly to the Galapagos on the morning of election day, immediately board a boat tour of the islands and thereby ignore all news of proceedings back home for a minimum of a week and more if at all possible. Unfortunately, the numerous travel agencies I visited in the preceding several days informed me that there had been a surge in bookings for the next week or two (coinciding with the Latin American holiday, the Day of the Dead) and that there were very few boat packages available in the short-term. What they did have to offer was either far too expensive or else budget bottom to the point at which it did not seem very enticing and I began to wonder if I wouldn´t be stuck in Quito for another week or two before something more attractive opened up. Sometime during a rainy and appropriately gray and dismal election day, as I wandered through the New Town of Quito in search of a passenger cancellation or new boat opening, it occurred to me that I could simply fly to the Galapagos and worry about booking a boat there. It would be cheaper, as I would eliminate a middleman in Quito, and I would be able to ask around and possibly even inspect the boats I was interested in. I went to the travel agency that had seemed the most scrupulous and honest (in total I had been to nearly 15 agencies and found these qualities in short supply) and booked a ticket, nothing more.
"I can book you a nice hotel," offered the agent, helpfully.
"No thanks," I told her. I´m not in the market for nice hotels anymore.
The rest of the afternoon passed slowly. With little to during the rain but bite my lip and wait, I alternated between wrapping up Fowles´ The French Lieutenant´s Woman over coffee and sitting in internet cafes nervously (maybe too nervously, in lieu of the of the coffee) checking exit poll results.
It was hard to find restaurants that were open for dinner, even in the touristy New Town --- the streets were all but empty with many people spending their day at the cemetary placing flowers on the graves of loved ones in observation of the Day of the Dead. Come 10 pm, I found myself eating shwarma and spicy lamb sausage in an Afghan Kebab House while watching the Spanish CNN network with several 50-something year old Ecuadorian men at the next table over.
I was clutching my head in one hand and the handle of a beer mug in the other. Tightly.
"Where you from, my friend?" asked one of the Ecuadorian men, no doubt suspecting the answer from my muttering and head-shaking.
"New York," I said. "I can´t believe this is happening." At the time, exit polls showed Bush winning not only in Florida and Ohio (a useless state those who know me will recall I have always loathed and never more than now) but in Michigan and Wisconsin as well. I was dumbstruck.
"You doh-na like-a Bush?" he asked.
"Nobody like-a Bush!" he answered, raising his own mug of beer toward me. Cheers to that. The other men waved their glasses around as well.
I gave up watching and hopped a cab back to the Secret Garden. One of my roommates, a guy from London, asked what the prognosis was and was shocked when I told him. "You look like you could use a drink," he told me. "We´re just about to head out now..."
"I would," I told him, "but the problem is that I could use about 10 drinks and that´s probably not a good idea right now since I have to be up at 4:30 to catch a flight to the Galapagos."
"Right. I´ll have those drinks for you then." What a trooper. He did, too. It wasn´t hard to wake up at 4:30 the next morning because most of my dorm stumbled in smashed at a little before 4. Its one of the many conveniences of budget travel. I managed to return the favor when I tripped over an electrical cord on my way out the door at 5 --- carrying a huge backpack. As I stumbled out into the early morning in search of a cab, I took solace in the fact that I still did not know --- for sure --- who the winner of the election was.
Sorry for the lame post but it was a lame day. As for the pictures, its tough to download them from the Galapagos but I will see what I can do when I have a full day to spare.
Posted by Joshua on November 2, 2004 07:13 PM
Category: Ecuador: Quito
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