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Archive for ‘August, 2018’

Guayaquil Continued

So today’s agenda starts with changing hotels to the place we started at yesterday! (After breakfast of course!)  The ride across town was dotted with colorful sights and statues.  Houses on the hillsides are packed in with seemingly no space between them.

Statues pay homage to Monkees and Children playing.

The hotel, Wyndam, is a 5 Star modern building, very unlike the rest of the city.  But comfort and catering to tourists is of utmost important to this hotel chain.  The view out of our 5th story room was spectacular, looking over the Rio Guayas and down at the Embarquedero.

We were happy to find that Ecuador has adapted their electrical grid to mirror that of the United States.  Everything is 120 volts, US plugs.  Even though I always travel with electrical adapters, they stayed in our suitcases for the entire vacation!  The other thing we found is that Ecuador has also adopted US Currency!  Remember when the US started minting Susan B Anthony Dollar Coins?  We saw them in circulation for maybe a year or two and then they disappeared?  Well, this is where they ended up!  No need to change currencies and then back again at the end of the trip.  Just spend US money.  Their product  values are also comparable to the US Dollar, so not too much work to figure out if you’re getting value for your money.  Because they are a poor country, everything was about half what you would spend in the US.  A great deal for all!

So, we’re in our new hotel and again, no time to rest!  Let’s go see some more things in this beautiful place!  We find the “Parque Historico Guayaquil” a short taxi ride away and head over there!  Colorful birds abound, monkeys climb their houses, and an attendant is there to wrap a powerfully friendly Boa Constrictor around your neck!  What fun!

Stepping out of the zoo part of the park, we find scenic vistas and old historic buildings to check out.

Even Vendors, selling everything from Caricature Paintings to delicious foods.  It’s still early and breakfast was a short time ago, so we admire, but don’t partake!

And there’s always that one friend in the crowd that loves to have fun with a photographer, either Photo Bombing his shots or mimicking the actions of his camera.  All in good fun!  After all, that’s what we’re here for!

So we contemplate our next move and take a short break to discuss what to see next.  On our way out of the park, we stumble across a live action historical play being performed.  I even come across an actress waiting in the wings for her cue to step out on stage!

Have you ever heard of a fruit that grows as big as a watermelon, yet it grows in trees?  Well, we haven’t either, but here are some!

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Back at the hotel, some of us take a quick nap while Elee and I take a walk on the Embarcadero in search of something cool to drink to assuage the heat!  Ahhh, a cool glass of Sangria hits the spot!

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After our friends recover from their nap, we all meet up for a stroll along the Embarcadero to see the sights.  Fountains and waterfront fills our vision for the first half mile.

Then we came to an area where it appears that locals live.  The houses are quaint with nice gardens, an actually nice place to live.

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We kept walking and found ourselves in those clean streets and views of the hill we climbed yesterday with the tower on top.

Even street vendors hoping for a sale as the day lengthens!

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Getting near sunset, we decided to try and find some altitude for a view.  So, for $3.00 each, we took a ride on the “La Perla” that lasted about 40 minutes.

Before it got totally dark, we came across “Casa Pilsner” for a cool drink in the heat and humidity.  A nice open air bar with great ambiance and a fun fountain outside!

The walk back to the hotel at twilight gave my cameras some fun shots as the street lights started coming on.  There were fountains and a building that appeared to be twisted next to our hotel.

We even found an Art Deco Building that could easily have been in Miami.

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And as the night came to a close, I took my trusty camera gear out into the Embarcadero for some night photos and time exposures.

As I was shooting this shot on a tripod, a guy and his family approached me and his daughter flirted with me to get me to walk away from my rig.  It didn’t work and as the guy tried one last ditch effort, he grabbed my tripod (with camera attached) and tried to run.  But I grabbed it right back a millisecond later and spoke some sharp and harsh words to him (I think some of the words I spoke I couldn’t repeat here).  Luckily for me, he took his family and walked away, not to be seen again.

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Goodnight!  Tomorrow will be another busy day!

Why does anyone do this???

Why do I travel?  That is the question.  Why don’t I just sit at home and browse the internet?  Why get in that plane after spending outrageous amounts of money that could easily buy more real estate or even help make my kids richer upon my demise?  Why pull on a wetsuit and fall backwards out of that Panga (Zodiac) Boat, holding my snorkel mask to my face and holding my breath while feeling that exhilarating thrill that goes through you as you are underwater and telling yourself to get back to the surface and get your snorkel cleared?

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Why force myself to wake up at ungodly hours and drag myself into the shower, exhausted from yesterdays activities?  Why did I arrange for the Safari vehicle to pick me up at 4:30 AM when there is perfectly good sleeping hours ahead?  And after riding in an uncomfortable vehicle for over an hour, what the hell is this???  An elephant, rearing up and looking like she is going to charge us???  Get me out of here!!!  Oh, wait, look, we’re moving away (wipes brow, now completely awake).  Her babies were on the other side of our Jeep.  We watch, enraptured, as Mom elephant and babies are reunited again.  Beautiful.  No, not beautiful, Phenomenal.  No, not Phenomenal.  Words can’t describe it.  Only being there to witness it in person can.  Those who will not, or cannot, will never know the beauty of this day!


(Scratches head and tries to figure out what brought on this memory of Africa)  Back to getting my snorkel cleared.  Not only did I willingly go under water where all kinds of creatures, both friendly looking and otherwise were all around me, the beauty takes over the mind and senses.  Wait, is that, wow, it is….  Should I be here?  I should swim away now.  But…  It’s beautiful…  Look at the white tips on its fins… Damn, Don, point the frickin’ camera, will you?  What are you waiting for?  You brought this complete underwater camera housing for a reason!  Now use it like you mean it!  Whoa, I can’t fill the frame.  I need to get closer.  This is soooo cool!  Yes, swim a bit closer.  Hold the camera still.  Damn it surf, slow down.  Hard to hold the camera still…Try harder.  Yes, that’s it, breathe slower, that’s better.  Got too excited is all.  Darn it, his head’s in the shadows.  Take photos anyway.  This is the coolest thing!  It’s a White Tipped Shark, sleeping on the bottom.  Yes, I said a SHARK, sleeping on the bottom.  BOOM!  I’m awake for sure now!

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Okay, back to ‘Why do I travel?’  I guess I’m sort of an adrenaline junkie.  Not!  Ask my friends, I’m really a wimp at heart.  But that, that last thing, the thing with the shark.  Now that was cool.  That’s why I travel.  You can see that at home?  Of course you can!  But you can’t see it from your living room.  Not up close and personal at least!

And the Sea Turtles.  How do you describe a Sea Turtle?  Oh, I know, just Google it.  There.  You can see a photo of a Sea Turtle from the comfort of your living room.  In your pajamas.  Or maybe, okay, I won’t go there….  They are Pretty.  Exciting.  Amusing.  Graceful.  Oh wait, you only saw Pretty.  Because you cant SEE Exciting.  Or Amusing.  Or Graceful.  Not on the internet anyway.  To SEE those things, you have to be there.  Right there.  In the water with them.  There is nothing that can take that from you.  And nothing that you can understand without being there.

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How about Sea Lions?  You can see them on the internet.  They are fun to watch!  But that is it, fun to watch.  Why do I say it like that?  Because I mean what I say.  You can watch all the videos you like of Sea Lions and they’re fun to watch.  But now put yourself in the water (with a good camera rig, I hope) and watch one swim up in the wild and play with you!  Yes, I mean “play with you”!  Swimming fast around you, nosing up to your camera (and I swear they can smile, or is that just my imagination?).  Then they are gone.  For a couple of seconds.  Then they are back in your face and smiling at you again.  And then you hear the revving of the Panga engines, signaling the end of the snorkel adventure and your mind fights it.  NOOOO, I’m having too much fun!!!!!  Okay, there will be more fun tomorrow (sad face hopefully doesn’t show).  So you climb back into the Panga and share your adventure with your travel friends as well as you can!

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An old friend who I stay in contact with today, it seems this person is quite skittish of a lot of adventurous things.  I had a crush on this person once (but then, I had crushes on a lot of people, LOL, including others that I am friends with today) a long time ago and as much as I still love this person as a friend today, I’m glad I found my adventurous love of my life when I did.  The world is my oyster!  Did I say oyster?  I hate, no I abhor oysters!  I even swallowed one once and I thought I was going to die!

But I digress.  This is about why I travel.  With 40 plus Countries under my belt, 7 Continents, 45 States in the USA, there is so much more beauty in the world to see!  Even though I am new to Blogging, I hope to catch up all my fans on all my adventures.  Please stay tuned for articles with photos attached.  I am a photographer by trade, so my blog text may appear dry at times.  My photos, if you are ever interested, are available as wall art or any other purpose you may like.  Please get permission before reproducing any of them.