Location: Galapagos

Our first full day in the Galapagos was rudely interrupted this morning at 3:00 am when a boat pulled up near our hotel and blasted music for an hour.  At 4 o’clock El saved us all and shouted NO LA MUSICA POR FAVOR!!  Only two short hours later we were up and ready for the day–BUT– we’re never completely ready until we’ve had breakfast.  The typical cuisine of scrambled eggs, bread, and malaria pills filled our stomachs, and we headed off to the Galapagos National Park. We walked around and looked at many tortoises; some were very small while others looked like ancient beasts capable of having us for a snack!  We were introduced to our guide Freddy, who gave us a tour of the tortoise hatchery.  We looked at the various tortoises and learned how they are incubated, hatched, raised, and measured. After that, we split into teams of five and were shown tortoise pools that we were to clean.  Armed with rubber gloves, steel brushes, and sunscreen, nothing could hold us back from making a dirty, stained cement pond into a crystal clear tortoise oasis. Once our ponds were clean, we regrouped and snacked on chocolate croissants (YUM!) and headed off to clean one more pool together.  Thirty minutes into the process, two GIANT tortoises strolled into our workspace and stared at us. Between drinking hose water from Nicole and giving Taylor a death-stare, the beasts looked deep into our souls for 45 minutes and attempted to eat my toes as they were mistaken for carrots. We departed from the park and grabbed some lunch at a restaurant. We gulped down our passionfruit juice, hopped into a pickup truck, and headed toward the sea. For an hour and a half, we swept a path leading to the beach and made the path more pleasant to walk on for those willing to make the 2.5-kilometer trek. The sun beat down on our heads, and our feet sank in the white sand when we were rewarded with a trip to the beach for our hard work. Despite a lack of changing areas and bathrooms, we all slipped on our swimsuits and splashed around in the Pacific Ocean for a while. Once the beach closed, we came back to the hotel and took showers. As the sun set, we headed down to a street full of tables and sweet smelling foods. We sat and ordered our food of sandwiches, hamburgers, and platters with rice and beans. Luke and I took a risk and ordered the Lonesome George, a massive burger with salami, bacon, two kinds of cheese, and a bun shaped like a tortoise. Thanks to Island Time, our meals took an hour and a half to arrive!! The food was delicious but Island Time seems to be a way of life none of us can adjust to. It’s hard to remember patience is a virtue when your stomach growls more loudly than the restaurant’s music! Tomorrow we’ll be teaching English classes and cleaning the school as well. Adios amigos!