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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Learning to Elbow the Locals

We awoke early this morning and headed to the airport for the trip from Lima to the Galapagos.  Upon reaching Guayaquil in Ecuador, we discovered why all the guidebooks say you have to plan extra time there to make your connection to the Galapagos.  After clearing immigration and customs, you take your luggage back out into the unsecure part of the airport where you get in a line specifically for the Galapagos that x-ray’s your luggage and makes you fill out forms that certify you aren’t carrying any foreign plants or animals to the islands.  They then seal your bags shut, you pay a Galapagos fee of $10, and then get back in the line to recheck your luggage with the airline.  It took us 90 minutes from the time our flight landed till we were again back through security and awaiting our connecting flight to the Galapagos.

Then when we reached Isla Baltra in the Galapagos, we found another round of paperwork and beauracracy.  You paid another $100 per person to enter the Galapagos (payable only in cash).  Why this wasn’t combined with the $10 fee we already paid wasn’t clear.  Then we had to pick up the bags.  The flight we were on was mostly filled with locals.  They would just run you right over if you let them.  Dave had to remove his backpack in order to wedge himself into the lineup to get the luggage off the slides.  The another x-ray machine – this time for your carry-on bags as the checked luggage still had the seals on them.  Then we boarded a bus – another elbow fight to get aboard.  By now we were realizing the only way we would ever reach our destination was to become as pushy as the locals.  We arrived at the boat dock to take the short 5 minute ferry ride to the next island where we were staying.  Yet another elbow fight to get our luggage stowed and get aboard the boat.  When we reached the dock on the other side, Melissa hopped off without the bags (we were getting a tad smarter by this time) and grabbed one of the last remaining taxis.  There she waited for the rest of the gang to show up with the bags.  We piled in and headed for the hotel.

Along the way the landscape was surreal.  Started out like a dessert prairie with cactus and changed before our eyes to a lush green jungle like climate – all in the span of a 20 mile drive.  We saw our first giant turtles grazing in one of the fields alongside the cows.  We thought we had seen big turtles at sea.  Nope.  Not even.  These turtles are HUGE.  This one we found just walking down the side of the road.

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