Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ancient History, Volume XXIII

In the last installment, giant lava bubbles, sharks, sea lions and penguins.

Our last day in the Galapagos started stupidly early. As in we were off the boat and on North Seymour Island by 7am early. We started out by seeing the frigate birds up close. We'd seen a bunch of them flying behind the boat over the previous days, but they're SO MUCH BIGGER when you see them on the ground. A couple of the males had their balloons inflated, which was pretty spectacular.

They inflate the balloons to attract a mate and they stay inflated for up to eight days, during which time the birds can't eat. I still can't decide if that's batshit cray-cray or seriously impressive...

From there, we headed across to the other side of the island to see the blue-footed boobies. On the way, we past a couple of land iguanas, which were rather enormous and VERY sleepy looking:

So, blue-footed boobies. They're SUPER dumb. Apparently a bunch of juveniles die every year because they fly out over the sea, spot a fish they want, and dive into the sea with their beaks open, at which point their lungs fill with water and they drown. Also? Their version of building a nest is pooping in a circle and laying an egg in the middle of it.

So yeah. They're dumb. But also kind of cute in their dumbness:
Apparently this is a mating dance

She doesn't seem very impressed...

Nest o' poop

After about an hour of going "ZOMG, there's a blue-footed boobie like a metre away from me!!!", it was back to the boat for the sail back to Baltra. We then had the joyous task of sitting around the shed airport shed for about three hours before our flight back to the mainland. The last half hour or so was pure agony, because:
a) it was about 32 degrees C outside (90 degrees Fahrenheit);
b) the plane's engines weren't on;
c) this meant the air conditioning wasn't running.

Have you ever been in a giant metal cylinder in 32 degree heat with no air circulation? It was NOT enjoyable. Thankfully, the flight back to the mainland was uneventful. Back in Quito, we decided that we should go to Boca de Lobo for dinner again. It was even more phenomenal the second time around - we ordered a dish called Ferocious Chicken and everything!

The following day, we headed up the Teleferico cable car, which offers pretty awesome views over Quito:

Back down in the new town, London Bound and I wandered around a bunch of camping stores, where we came across this:

Yup. It's a sleeping bag with arms and legs. Because, you know, who doesn't want to look like a Teletubbie while they camp?!

London Bound left the next day, and I had five days in Quito on my own. You'd think I would have seen a bunch of stuff. NOPE. I spent a crapton of time on the internet, drank a lot of hot chocolate, watched an awful lot of television ("Soopernatooral: Miercoles en Warner Channel!" featured quite strongly), and ate FAR too much for my own good. I also tried to find the archaeology museum that was apparently several blocks away, but failed miserably.

Next up? I spend forever flying to Guatemala, and climb an active volcano.

K xx


  1. I think the sleeping bag suit would be great! Like a snuggie, only more practical. But then I don't usually look very stylish when I camp anyway.

    I'm so glad to know about the poop-nest. That really was news to me :-/

    1. Seriously. If ANYTHING about boobies spelled out "dumbest birds ever" for me, it was the part where they poop in a circle and consider it a nest.

      The sleeping bag suit had zips on the hands and feet, so you didn't even have to get out of it to walk around/get a drink/whatever!

  2. Is the sleeping bag suit for people who sleepwalk, maybe? Then they can stay nice and warm as they randomly wander out of their tent and head off into the bushes...

    Those boobies are too awesomely stupid for words. How are they even still alive?

    1. I have no idea how boobies are still alive. It's kind of ironic, really, considering that it was the Galapagos that gave Darwin the idea of evolution in the first place...

      And I think the sleeping bag is for really lazy men. Because it also had a zip in the...groinal area...so that you didn't need to get out of your sleeping bag to pee. PROVIDED YOU'RE A DUDE.

  3. I can tell you right now, if I saw a frigate bird flying toward me, I'd be screaming blue murder and running in the other direction. Oh hell to the no. That is one scary looking bird.

    I'd totally wear a sleeping bag suit. You sold it to me when you said "who doesn't want to look like a Teletubbie while they camp?!"

    1. They are pretty terrifying. Thankfully, they were too busy being all "Heyyyyyyyy, lady birds. You know you want a piece of this hot balloon action!!" to be interested in trying to get us off their territory.

  4. No, I figured it out - if a teletubbie and a snuggie had a one night stand, that sleeping bag would be their love child.

  5. Okay, first of all, I am soooooooooo sorry I've been a shitty bloggy friend, waaaahhhhh!! I suck! So, not only have I not updated my blog since Sunday (I'll whip up a post tonight, by God!) but I've neglected to comment on this here post of yours AND your most recent one...but I'll get to that shuffle one tonight or tomorrow, fo' shizzle! Anyway, pre-Europe planning and running around is to blame for my absence.

    Now, onto your post!

    Frigate birds' red balloons -- giant goitres much?! (Which reminds me of that Seinfeld ep when Elaine is visiting that old lady with the hideous goitre that Elaine can't stand to look at directly -- bahahah -- and then it turns out the lady had an affair with Gandhi. As you do.)

    And what a way to attract a mate, those red balloons...nature, huh?

    The blue-footed boobies (snerk) are too freakin' cute. Just LOOK at them!

    When I saw the sleeping bag "snuggie" my first thought was also, "OMG, teletubbie," followed quickly by "Wow, I hate the teletubbies."

    True story.



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