Back to the Continent

September 30, 2007
Day 732

I headed back to mainland Ecuador this morning. What can I say about the Galapagos that I haven't already said? I think the best way for me to express my gratitude toward the islands is to mention that my visit cracks the top five experiences of my entire trip. In order, here's how they currently stand:

  1. My cruise to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands. (I'll probably never top that one.)
  2. Taking the long route from Santa Cruz to Rurrenabaque, Bolivia (includes Noel Kempff Mercado National Park and canoing down the Itenez River).
  3. Achieving my first mountain summit (Huayna Potosi at 6088 meters).
  4. Walking with Simba the puma through the jungles of Bolivia.
  5. The Galapagos Islands.

My plane landed in Guayaquil, but I had already gotten my fix of that city, so I bussed it to Cuenca, which was right where I left off before heading to the Galapagos. I was going to stay with Roy again, but he was off in his hometown of Machala voting. Another consequence of election day was that alcohol wasn't allowed to be sold anywhere. I got a beer with a few people from my hostel, but we had to keep our bottles on the floor just in case the cops came. Mandatory voting and being sober while voting may seem like strange concepts to Americans, but they are widespread practices in South America.

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