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January 2016

Loss

2016 starts with loss. Over the holidays, several of my possessions were forcibly taken from me. I returned from the Galapagos to find my bicycle gone from my garage. Although I locked the bike to itself, I did not lock the vehicle to a firm structure like a garage post. …

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12/28/15 – Airports

Ah, the sad glory of international air travel. American Airlines cancelled outright the first two flights this morning back to San Francisco, including mine. I stand one hour in a ticketing line, then another hour in the gate security line. I’m likely spending eight hours in the Dallas airport before …

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12/27/15 – 14,000 Feet

Our last day in Quito. I suffer a headache hangover in a hotel bed that still sways. I’m ready to go back to a more stable home. After breakfast, we take a long taxi ride to the TeleferiQo on the west side of Quito. Here, a ski-lift-style gondola takes tourists …

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12/26/15 – Quito

We’re in Quito at 2850m or roughly 8555ft above sea level, the altitude at which we slept the night before. Of world capitals, only La Paz, Bolivia, is situated higher than Quito. At this altitude, I feel neither dizzy nor short of breath – just seasick, or rather landsick. Lee …

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12/24/15 – Tortoises

Lee and I wake weary at 5:40am. I race to put in contacts, put on my swimming suit, and cover with sunscreen. We panga out to Punta Cormorante while the sun rises. Mornings are mercifully warm. At a brackish inland lagoon, we spot 30 pink and white flamingos, reflecting necks …

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12/23/15 – Albatross

I’m awake again at 5:30am. A sign of a good trip is discussion of future trips. We’re eager for more adventure. Possible future boat trips: an Alaskan cruise, a Nile cruise to Luxor, a sailboat on the Balkans, a Greek island cruise. Where will I go in 2016? This is …

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12/22/15 – Kicker Rock

This longest day of the year proves quite long indeed. We wake at 5:30am to a warm morning – cold never comes to The Galapagos. The boat has brief leave to explore a famous diving spot quite early in the morning before the rush of other tourist dive boats. From …

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12/21/15 – Iguanas

Julio tells us the yacht follows a complex schedule: sunrise here at 6am, snorkeling there at 8am. I suspect a national tourist organization orchestrates the ballet of boats across the limited number of Galapagos tourist sites. Our boat on its 8-day cruise shall visit obscure spots on less than half …

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12/20/15 – Lava

We wake absurdly early at 5:40am for a dry landing before breakfast. Our group of 12 ascends wooden stairs over the rocky slab that is Isla San Bartholeme to greet the rising sun. This little new island has just a few land critters: grasshoppers, lizards, and small snakes. We take …