January 30, 2009

Brought to you by the colour YELLOW


The flowers here are amazing, not to mention the trees and fruits and other weird plants. I found all of these in just one walk. With the colours and the heat, I keep forgetting what month it is.

Cheating: never say never

Jorge is a surfer from the coastal city of Guayaquil, on holiday for a week in the Galapagos. He told me that although Ecuadorian girls try to change their men, and really hope to keep them on track, they accept that their boyfriends and husbands will probably be unfaithful at some point.

"What about you, Jorge?" I asked. "Are you gonna cheat?"

"Mmm... I hope I won't. I'll try not to."

That's ridiculous, I told him. Cheat or don't.

He laughed, and pointed to a glass of water.

"Nunca digas de esta agua no bebere."

Apparently this is the Spanish equivalent of "never say never." Don't say you'll never drink from this glass of water--who knows how thirsty you'll get.

January 29, 2009

Kingdoms and towns

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the main town of San Cristobal

Tengo gripe (I have a cold), so I'm hiding out with pirated movies until the phlegm clears. I just watched The Kingdom for the first time, which has the Spanish title La Sombra del Miedo

It's based on a terrorist attack on an American compound in Saudi, like the one I grew up in, and opens with a softball game. Dads pitching, moms sitting it the bleachers, everyone sweating--indeed, this was my childhood! The movie wasn't great, but I liked the scattering of Arabic that I knew. Shouf (look), halas (enough), habibe (friend).

"Don't worry, we'll kill them all," said the FBI agent and the little Saudi boy at the end. It resonated unhappily, as intended, and I realize that violence has wandered far from my mind since my arrival on San Cristobal, population six thousand. There's corruption, sure, but no violence. Twice I've walked home at 3:30 in the morning and when people approached me in the dark, it was just to offer rum and coke and homegrown weed.

Funnily enough, this brings me back to Saudi, where I roamed the street day and night and felt perfectly safe, too. The difference is that the safety there was manufactured by walls and security guards that insulated us from the rest of the Kingdom, whereas here people are safe because the whole community is connected--everyone knows everything about everyone.

January 28, 2009

Baby sea lions!

Bear with me and my terrible attempts at wildlife photography.

Aren't they the cutest? Oh, buddies.

In Spanish, they're lobos marinos--sea wolves. After two hours of baby sea lion gazing, I think it's a better term. They scratch themselves and bark, after all. Far more canine than feline.

One little pup takes 20 minutes to inchworm himself up the beach. Check back later, and I'll try to capture joy of it on camera.

January 27, 2009

"No vainilla. Coco."

Soft serve for the walk home costs 80 cents, and what I thought was vanilla is actually coconut. No wonder the whole town is hooked.

January 26, 2009


Here it is--my home in the Galapagos for the next eight months. I love the wrought iron bed frame and the yellow curtain. 

This is where I live and teach classes, which makes commuting very straightforward. Sara, the other ESL teacher, lives two rooms down, and so far we have the place to ourselves.

Our front yard is a beach called Playaman (more on the name later), where a harem of sea lions sleeps half the day. We're only a ten-minute walk from town, so the beach is packed on weekends.

And here I am. Smiling, but totally keeping an eye on the sea lion in the water. Everyone says they're harmless, but I'm still wary. One friend was nipped on the leg, and it took 40 days to heal. Tropical weather and all. Let me know if you have sea lion stories or advice.

Buenas noches! And thanks for visiting my blog.