Subject: #18 world tour-Equador-Galapagos islands
Date: Mon, 09 Jan 2006 03:52:26 +0000

Dear family and friends

Equador is a small country, size of Nevada State, has different regions-Andes highlands, jungles and coastal, i went through Andes on Panamerican highway - goes from Alaska to Chili with interupton at Panama canal - on the way to famous Otavalo market, country side is beautiful with lakes, hills and indigenous villages, women wear traditional dressess- embroided blouses, long black skirts and shawls ,looking strikingly, they sell traditional craft- weaving and alpakas ponchos, shawls, bags, sweaters, dolls ,etc. , people are very friendly,

than i flew to Galapagos Islands, spent 4 days on the boat Estrella del MAR, we sailed at night to different islands and during the day we learned about unique flora and fauna by snorkling, scuba diving, hiking, horse back riding ,listening to our naturalist and observing, we walked on islands and ¨¨mingled¨¨ with countless, fearless sea lions, huge land and marine iquanas, boobies-white, red and blue footed, crabs, flamingos, pelicans,pinquins, turtles,albatroses, frigates, hawks, i snorkled and scuba dived watching sea lions, very colourful fish, sting rays, sea stars, white-tipped reef sharks , etc.

>we had very strenious climbing to the spectacular volcano with many different types of lava,

i did 2 hours of horse riding- my bones are still sore, we crolled through the cave, we visited Charles Darwin station and saw giant-galapagos-turtles , they gave name to these slands,

Darwin sailed here on Beagle- voyage of 5 years around the world , i wrote that his ship stopped at Australian port and captain named it Darwin out of gratitude for sponsoring this sail- and spent 36 days on Galapagos studying changes in local species and came to the theory of natural selection- change to survive-evolution, it took him 20 years to publish his famous book- Origin of species,

there are many reasons for this unique enviroment; island lie 600 miles from mainland Equador, mostly uninhabited, no natural preditors, so animals are fearless, 2 currents-warm and cold, etc.

this is UNESCO World Heritage Site, most animals exist only here, the experience of being here among all these animals and being part of this unique nature is fantastic, overwhelming and very fullfiling,

please do not miss it, there is no other place in the world like GALAPAGOS.