The Galapagos paradise! -
Quito, June 24th 2002

Even if I'm not a great fan of soccer it was nice that Sweden won their group and went further. A pity we lost the next game against Senegal though. Soccer is a religion down in South America and Ecuador was very happy due to the fact that they entered the world cup for the first time ever, even if they didn't do too well.

Instead of watching the game Sweden lost against Senegal I went to the Galapagos Islands. $1200 is sure loads of money for eight days of vacation, but then it was seven effective days of pure paradise. Since almost no animals have any predators no animals are afraid of you. So you can in general get as close as you want. You can walk up very close to birds, iguanas, snakes, lizards and sea lions. I actually had two birds, playing, flying between my legs. When a male enormous sea lions did the same in the water it's a bit scarier since the males can be a bit territorial and aggressive. It was fantastic though to swim and play with the female sea lions and their babies, penguins, tropical fish, sea turtles, manta rays, eagle rays, white tipped reef shark and the Galapagos shark. On land we could see all kind of different birds as frigates, blue and red footed boobies and other animals like land and sea iguanas, turtles... I was really lucky with the group on the boat, altogether 10 passengers. It was a good mix of people. We were lucky with the weather all days except from one, so we did spend a lot of time snorkelling, walking the islands watching the animal life, eating loads of great food, sun-bathing, trying to avoid the sun, re-applying sun lotion all day and dancing at some pubs and on the boat. Two Swedish girls and I tried to educate the other people about the Swedish midsummer which occurred last Friday. We had a few drinks and we danced the traditional frog dance, which got mixed with swing and salsa.

After leaving the paradise of Galapagos and the good new friends, I'm staying one more night in Quito getting my things together, saying goodbye to some people I've met here and the home stay family before heading towards Baños and southern Ecuador.

Love Emil