02.25.2013 - 02.25.2013
We've left the Galapagos. We're back in the Guayaquil airport, mourning, laughing at ourselves for our genuine and somewhat silly sadness. Taking turns, we creep into the airport bookstore and flip though photo books of the islands, reliving each creature we saw, each place we visited.
On the bus to the Itabaca Channel we met this rather horrible retiree from Florida--a chatty old woman who sprinkled her stories with bitterly pronounced swear words and insults to other travelers, locals, and tourism workers. She seemed to believe every foreign country was founded for the sole purpose of impressing first world travelers, and she was quick to point out their failures. To her, people were either nice or stupid, places enjoyable or full of bullshit. I suspect she might have placed us in the "nice" category because Chris helped her with her bag, after which she seemed to follow us everywhere--onto the ferry, then the airport bus, the airport, the airplane itself (she sat next to us), and even to baggage claim. By the end of the flight her crimson lipstick had, through a network of fine wrinkles, smeared around the corners of her mouth. She told us the Galapagos were a great disappointment to her. She didn't see what all the fuss was about--some birds and turtles but so what? you had similar-looking birds elsewhere, and turtles aren't anything new. Chris and I could only hope, listening to her rail against the stupidity of this and that, that none of the Ecuadorians nearby could understand English. She could be suddenly acerbic to the point that I periodically wondered whether she had Tourettes. I imagined not. There was never an apology afterwards for her spiteful outbursts, though once she rather shamefacedly explained that travel made her extremely tired. She was alone. I didn't bother to ask about a family; she never mentioned any. All kinds of people travel, though some I'd rather not.