Culture Wars

I recently returned from a Galapagos cruise, and the demographics of the other passengers got me to thinking about who can afford to travel these days and how that might reflect on the current state of political affairs worldwide. Continue reading

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Why go to the Galapagos? Is it worth it? 7 Answers say “Yes”

Before I went to the Galapagos Islands, I found myself asking the question, why spend so much money on a trip going to the remote island chain for a week when, for the same price, I could go to Costa Rica and spend a couple of months, or even mount a safari to Africa? Is it really worth all the expense and trouble, especially when there are no man-made attractions on the Galapagos, and so many nature tours worldwide are so much more affordable?  The short answer is yes, to my way of thinking, and here’s why:

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The Galapagos

Yes, I’m here, fulfilling a bucket list requirement at last, and it’s everything I’d hoped for. The animals, the weather, the seclusion…here you have it all. Endemic species, brilliant sunny equatorial days, no crowds. What more could I want?
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“Do” Guayaquil, if you must

Guayaquil is big, the second largest city in Ecuador, and it is a layover stop for many who enter the country on their way to someplace else. That’s how I found myself there…as a means to the end of seeing the Galapagos.

What to do in Guayaquil if you wind up with an extra day in your itinerary? My advice is to revise your itinerary if possible, but, if not, go to the “Iguana Park” and the Malecon (boardwalk). Continue reading

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Uphill Racing in Ecuador

It’s raining, there’s an impenetrable fog, and we’ve already had to dodge some rubble that’s fallen from the steep rock slides on the shoulder of a treacherous Andean road. On one side is a sheer granite wall, on the other nothing but deep space for 2,000 feet. There’s a sign that says “Reduce Speed” in Spanish, which is a good idea for people who value their lives (or for those who enjoy dry pants) because the road disappears behind a switchback turn, and, for those who can’t read, there are a dozen large yellow arrows posted on the curve ahead. Just for emphasis, roadside shrines dedicated to the recently departed decorate the numerous points along the road where the last words heard were “Hey, amigo, hold my beer!”, and the double yellow lines are probably there for a reason.

Naturally, of course, that is the exact moment when Jorge’, the driver of the van I’m in, decides it’s a great time to pass the truck lumbering along in front of us. Continue reading

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Cuenca, the Gringo Paradise

I’m seated at a cafe’ on the Parque’ Abdon Calderon in central Cuenca, and a woman is pestering me to buy her mangos. She has them in a great basket, and she’s stopped by my table because, I think, it’s raining, so I’m the only potential customer, however unlikely it is that a lone gringo drinking wine at a restaurant needs fresh fruit. I finally succumb and hand over a dollar. She proceeds to put one in a be, and I’m thinking I’ll get some change back. Then she gives me another. And another. Soon, I have a bag full, so I’m figuring they’re about 8 cents a piece. I don’t do the grocery shopping at home, but I think that’s a great deal, especially since I didn’t have to actually rise from my chair to buy them. Continue reading

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10 Things I Love About America

 

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I travel a lot. Enough, at least, I think, to appreciate what makes America such a great place to live when compared to the rest of the world. And by that I mean, how easy and convenient our country is for the average citizen. I am not talking about nebulous and unmeasurable concepts like freedom and opportunity here. I’m talking about the things that make your day-to-day life easier, like: Continue reading

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