Guayaquil, Ecuador and then on Home. Saturday, January 28, 2017

We wake up, have breakfast and Steve says a quick goodbye to the iguana statue in the lobby of the hotel. Good thing we didn’t have room in the luggage or Steve would have brought it home! Although I would rather have him than a Moai!

Since this will be a short post, I thought that I would let you see pictures of our upgraded room at the Oro Verde hotel.

We got our room key and were directed to a different set of elevators then on our last visit here. We got a junior suite this time! The living room.

Half bath off the living room.

The bedroom. Unfortunately it was the same hard Ecuadorian bed!

Main bathroom sink area. Separate doors for bath and shower.

Lots of closet space, and lots of room to change in!

View of the living room from the bedroom. I was mucho pleased with the room!

In our hotel there was a lovely jewelry store. The only purchases that I made on the trip were a sunhat, my Pattagucci jacket and a woven top for our daughter S.

It’s early morning and not many people are out and about yet. This one way street is eight lanes across!

We drove past the massive mausoleums.

We saw this lady in the traditional dress of Ecuador. Notice the black hat. The airport was the only place that we saw people in traditional clothes. Her people are called Chola Cuencana. Please don’t ask me to pronounce that!

If you are planning a trip to The Galapagos, do it before 2020. A new airport is being built here in Guayaquil. The current airport is with in the city limits. It took us only 10 minutes to get to the airport from our hotel. The new airport is going to be an hour away!

We didn’t have a Dream Liner going back to the United States, so no magic ceiling color changes!

Not sure when we will be in South America again, I just hope that next time we won’t be this much under water!

Good-bye Guayaquil and the rest of South America!

A fun fact to know. Many Ecuadorians name their children after American Presidents. I already mentioned our new friend Washington in an earlier blog post. Our guide this morning to the airport was named Jefferson. Lorena, our guide from yesterday, told us that Phillips Magnesia is also a common name. Guess what name has become very popular for a baby name? Trump!

Hello airline breakfast.

Hello Panama!

Do you think that these boats are heading to the canal?

Hello Cuba!

Lunch on the plane, no cookies, no dessert!

Boats heading into they New York City Harbor.

Some big estates near Woodmere Country Club on Long Island. Dues are around $15,000 per year if you want to join. I have no idea what the initiation fee is. You are going to have to find out that information on your own. I can’t be expected to know everything, can I?

Once we got home we found out that the boiler in the house had stopped working on our trip. We were very lucky that the temperature in the house had only gotten down to 47 F, and the pipes didn’t freeze! The furnace was only a few years old! We called up the installer and they quickly came to fix it. Since then we have installed Nest thermostats in the house, that have wifi capability so we can always check the temperature. I can only hope that the wifi is connected to the generator so if the power goes out we can still find out the temperature. Unfortunately if the cable goes out due to a storm we are SOL!

The steam is from Steve making dinner. This is what happens when you boil water in a house that is 47 degrees F! The room has warmed up to 51 F now that the repair man came! We usually don’t leave the house in that shape when we leave for a trip! I hope that you enjoyed our first trip to South America!

Did you enjoy traveling to South America with us?

What is the lowest temperature your house has ever been?

Would you name your child Trump?

Bonus question: Do you expect me to know everything?

Galápagos Islands and then on to Guayaquil Ecuador. Friday January 27, 2017

We go up to the Dining room for breakfast and what do we see on the coveted table? Success! The staff reserved our table for us on our last day! Even Steve looks happy at my triumph!

The manager told me was going to talk to staff about dining room policies. We said it would be good if they had more round tables. These were the only chairs that were comfortable for Steve also. As Steve was so tall, he had problems fitting his knees under the tables!

It is amazing how little things make me happy! Chocolate on my pillow at a hotel and a reserved sign with my name on it at the best table in the house! I almost wanted to take the sign with us!

Last night we were all packed and sitting around reading in bed after dinner when we realized the air conditioner didn’t seem to be working properly. It would cool a little and then shut down after an hour. Then I would turn it back on. This happened all night long. Finally it stopped working at 4 a.m. It sure did get hot in that room! It was easy to wake up in the morning, we were tired of being hot!

Let’s hope we have better luck in Guayaquil tonight. Then we will be on an airplane and soon we will be home sweet home!

Orange shirt, blue hat was not happy that we had the outside table! She gave me quite the stink eye as she walked by.

Now you might wonder why we didn’t ask to get our room changed last night. We thought that they only had a number of rooms with working equipment. Mr. And Mrs. J were supposed to be in the casitas, but they had no TV or hot water for 24 hours and were then upgraded to a villa. I have no idea if our TV worked as we never turned it on!

On the way to the airport I noted two bags. When I was little I used to get gold nugget bubble gum. Tiny yellow guy pieces were packed in small draw string bags. I think that they contained coffee and were supposed to be given to us as gifts. We never got them, so maybe they were to be brought home to Mrs. Taxi Driver!

So now we have left the highlands and are heading toward the lowlands. Vegetation is getting more sparse, with the land more arid, although there is still some green.

The familiar islands in the distance.

The boats in the harbor where we will pick up the ferry to Baltra where the airport is. The main harbor is in Puerto Ayaro.

Steve is ready to start the trip home. I had checked out mentally a few days ago. We agreed to limit trips to no more than 21 days.

Off in the distance you can see the highland on Santa Cruz Island. This is where we stayed. Most of the lowlands is part of the national park.

Here are the remains of a building that used to be part of a United States Base during World War II.

It was very dry here. The bus had to stop many times on the way from the ferry to the airport for iguanas that were trying to cross the road.

These green things are the planting of prickly pear cacti.

It’s not a big airport.

Remember about how I was wondering if I had people that I might dislike on a cruise? At the airport today we met a gentleman who had just been on a cruise. He said they had several people on his cruise who were always late! That would drive me nuts, or at least a bit more nutty than I already am!

No red footed boobies for sale in the gift shop at the airport, but they did have penguins!

Our plane was delayed so every one got a snack as compensation.

It was strange to see 0 latitude!

Good-bye Galapagos. We are not sure if we will ever go on a cruise. Steve and I have both agreed that we have never been on a boat where we hadn’t wanted to disembark before they let us! Although Steve does enjoy being on his boat, I only like it when the weather is just right, not too hot, just the right breeze and low humidity.

Our flight path.

We did get another snack on the flight. Some of the people worried that as they had gotten one snack already they wouldn’t get the regular snack!

We saw this billboard at the airport. This will be our hotel for the night. We stayed here the night before we left to go to the Galapagos. Many of the flight crews stay here. Last time at breakfast the KLM air crew had a table reserved for them. I didn’t begrudge them as it was a table just like all the others, just reserved for them.

This statue is of Guayas, the ruler the city is named after.

Beyond the fence is the grave yard. As Guayaquil is at sea level and the river floods often the graves are in above ground mausoleums. They can be used four times, then you must pay again.

Here we are at the flower market. It is conveniently located next to the cemetery.

You can also get beautiful arrangements for a candle lit dinner party.

Ecuador is the number one place for rose growing. There are huge farms up on the slopes of the Andes where flowers are grown for export. The weather there is cool and misty. Labor is also very inexpensive. Although England is famous for its roses, it can’t beat long stemmed Ecuadorian roses.

Quinceanera parties, baptisms, first communions, you come here.

The roses that don’t qualify for export are sold here. Usually it is because they are a little too ripe for export. It was a good thing we didn’t get out of the car, I would have spent hours examining all the arrangements. Our guide Lorena told me that she takes guests on trips to the rose farms. She also takes people to banana plantations.

Here is a statue given to the city of Guayaquil by the French.

I’m not sure what she is doing up there, but she looks graceful!

There was a big fire during the turn of the 20th century. These buildings reflect the French influence.

This was a former chocolate trader’s house. The chocolate business was on the main floor and the family lived above. The French loved chocolate. There is much French influence in the architecture of the city.

University of the Arts.

This seal represents Ecuador. From the Andes to the sea.

Here is a statue of Guayas and his wife Quil. When his city was conquered, he killed his son, wife and himself to prevent capture by the Spaniards when his city was doomed. Guayaquil was named after both of them.

The clock tower on the Promenade. It has an Arabic Byzantine dome. A levee has been built to prevent flooding.

Una Via. One Way. Simple things like this make me so happy. That and no table hogging!

Here is the plaza in honor of Simon Bolivar. Bolivar and San Martin freed Ecuador from Spanish rule in the early 19th century.

The Cathedral for Guayaquil is in the background. It was modeled after Norte Dame. It seems the Ecuadorians liked the French better than the Spanish. Our guide Duncan in the Galápagos told me that the Ecuadorians think the accent of Spanish people is too harsh!

This is a banyan tree, it has interesting roots.

This park is famous for its iguanas.

It was almost like Jurassic Park.

Except with pigeons also!

Marching on the ground!

Or up in the trees!

Or even sleeping off a hangover!

Iguanas, pigeons, oh my! It was just the greatest!

There were vendors selling food for the pigeons and iguanas.

Of course there was a sign saying that it wasn’t permitted, but many people just seemed to ignore the prohibition.

You looking at me?

There were snapping turtles.

We were told the fish were tilapia. They looked like carp or koi.

This is Saint Narcissa, the first Saint of Ecuador. Her dress reminds me of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz!

There was an earthquake in 2015. There was much damage to the altar and ceiling. Chile has lots of earthquakes, Ecuador not so many. As it was the first bad earthquake in 300 years, it was a pretty big deal.

Pope John Paul I asked Cardinal Ratzinger to visit Guayaquil in 1978. He later became Pope Benedict XVI.

The clock tower again from the other side.

This statue is made of teak. The promenade was built to prevent the river overflow and flooding of the city.

This is a yellow mango tree.

This is a yellow mango tree.

This tree had red mangos. They are called blood mangos!

Here was a heron that was in the tree.

This is Steve and Lorena, she had no trouble finding us in a crowd. She only had to look up. When he took the kids to Disney World our daughter said she never had problems finding us in a crowd as we were so much taller than many of the guests!

There was an amusement park at the other end of the promenade.

Lorena is telling Steve about the rubber trees. I’m still thinking about the Iguanas!

The statue to honor Bolivar and San Martin.

Everyone wanted to get their picture taken in front of the festive Guayaquil sign.

A view of the Andes across from the promenade.

The plaza was named in honor of Ecuador’s independence from Spain on October 9.

Another old chocolate house.

Off to the market where we can see many dollar stores. Many stores and much selection. Lorena had her eye on a beautiful white dress in the window. Steve may or may not have been looking at the brassieres.

Lots of people were wearing yellow jerseys to support the local soccer team that won the day before.

This store sold bras. I am sure that Steve’s eyes were looking elsewhere.

Next we shall drive to the colorful shanty town on the hill.

We could walk 300 steps up behind the wooden barrier. Let’s not and say we did!

The homes were given money for the outsides to be gaily painted.

We had some view of the city. There are 14 million people who live in Ecuador. Three million live in Guayaquil. There aren’t many high rises so the city is spread out. How many of you have heard of Guayaquil before my lessons ?

These people represent one of the 10 political parties who are vying in the coming election.

We invited our guide Lorena to have dinner with us. Her choice was Lo Nestro, which means “our thing” in Spanish. Most restaurants in South America don’t grow a crowd until after 8 pm.

We were early diners, the place was packed when we left. There were family graduation celebrations, with young graduates in formal gowns. Tourists like us too! It was the best restaurant in town.

At dinner Lorena told us if you sneeze three times in a row you wish for health, wealth and good luck. If you sneeze four times in a row, you are also wished good sex!

To go along with the bread we were given two spreads. A cheese spread was on the left and a spicy one on the right. The cheese spread looked like mayonnaise.

The bartender made me an Ecuadorian Pisco Sour. Traditionally only Peruvians, and Chileans drink Pisco Sours. So don’t be a fool like me and order a Pisco Sour in the wrong country!

A display of their specials.

I had the fried flounder and fettuccini with carbonara sauce. I didn’t think it was an Ecuadorian dish, but Lorena told me it was.

Steve had the spicy sea bass with garlicky linguini. You’d swear we were in an Italian restaurant. Steve said the fish was really tilapia.

At dinner we sat at the table on the right. The people sitting to the left were on our flight from the Galápagos. The photos and the memorabilia were from Julio Jaramillo Laurido. He was a famous Ecuadorian singer and was quite the ladies man. He fathered 40 children with 10 ladies. He must have been quite the crooner!

Here is a link to one of his songs from YouTube. https://youtu.be/3kvEKW6bSwI

No room for dessert but here was the cart on the way out of the restaurant.

Are you a table hog?

Would you have bought food for the Iguanas or Pigeons?

Do you believe all underwear should be white, black or nude?

Do you call the top part of women’s underwear bras or brassieres?

Galapagos, Ecuador Tuesday January 24, 2017

The flowers are gorgeous here. We said goodbye at breakfast to the lovely Cecilia and her husband Washington. Did you know that it is very popular in Ecuador to name your children after famous American Presidents ? Yes, indeed, there are many Washingtons, Lincolns, and in fact Donald Trump was so popular that the naming registry put a halt to naming your son after our current President! Presidential names were not the only popular names, in fact Milk of Magnesia was also a common name! I kid you not!

Today we are going on an excursion to South Plaza Island. We were met by a bus that brought us to the pier where we had been dropped by the ferry yesterday. Our yacht was called the Sea Finch. It had an air conditioned room that you could sit in, and or lay out on the front deck area. There were a limited number of seats where you could stretch your feet out. I nabbed one. Steve got the bench. We had lunch in the air conditioned area. There was also a bathroom and changing area on the boat. We approached Plaza Island and were met by many sea lions. The red creature on the left is a Sally Light Food Crab. The guy on the right is a sea lion. But you already knew that!

This is a picture of Nadine, our guide. She was from France and often times sounded like Inspector Clouseau.

Nadine is telling us about seals in this videoclip.

This is a blue footed booby on the cliff. I better get a better picture of one for this trip. In case I don’t get a better picture here is a professional one. I should probably just tell you the names of the animals and have you look them up. You won’t even need to read my blog then!

These are cacti, the land iguanas eat them for food. I feel bad for this guy. He wore a black shirt, black pants, and has very dark hair. My hair is very dark, I call it the color of bittersweet chocolate. If I don’t wear a hat in the sun, my head heats up lickety split.

Here is an iguana. Here is a dead iguana. We finally turned around to head back to the Sea Finch. I don’t think that the altitude app on my iPhone works worth a ding dang. Steve says they do have a big margin of error! We saw this yacht on the way in to the dock in Puerto Ayora. Oftentimes the town is mistakenly called Santa Cruz, but that is the name of the island.

Here I am with Sally’s Go pro on my head. I will be lucky if any of the pictures turn out. Steve thinks that I look like a member of the Borg Collective from Star Trek-The Next Generation. Steve ended up going snorkeling. I didn’t as I can’t see well enough without my glasses on, and Nadine, our guide, said that you couldn’t wear glasses and a snorkel mask. No pictures of Steve and the group snorkeling, although I went out on the Zodiac with them, and I was afraid that I would drop my phone in the water! Here is a picture of me in front of a fruit shop. I am hot and bedraggled. I am going to count this as a visit to a grocery store if we don’t visit on on Friday when we go back to Guayaquil. Otherwise I am going to have to give up my streak of visiting a grocery store in every state or country that we go to!This is a lovely view of the pool and the restaurant where we had our breakfasts and dinners.

After watching the sunset at the hotel we had dinner. No pictures of food tonight, I am tired of being away, and just want to sleep in my own house and do laundry again.

Have you ever been to The Galapagos?

Do you think that you will return in your next life as a Blue Footed Booby?

Do you speak with a French accent?

Bonus question! Would you rather name your child Trump or Milk of Magnesia?