Galapagos Birds — Part II

Good news! We’re finally back online. We purchased a new computer the other day so we can once again share our pictures and conduct our business. Even better: we have 24-hour free Internet access! Mike has barely left our apartment since we set up the computer (just kidding). It will take us a little while to recover programs and get caught up, but we’re glad to be fully functional again.

This is also good news for you because it means that you finally get to see some boobies — blue footed boobies, that is! That’s right, here’s your final installment of Galapagos wildlife. Better late than never, right?

A lone booby perches on a rock. Although there are some places in the Galapagos where boobies are abundant, forming entire colonies, we only managed to see a few stragglers.

Look at those blue feet! Boobies are also fun to watch because they unexpectedly plunge into the water from time to time. They look like they are dive-bombing the surface.

Boobies are best known for their awesome name. The blue feet also earn them bonus points. But on top of the cool name and the colorful tootsies, boobies also know how to get down. They are famous for their dancing abilities; case in point, this one’s certainly in a groove.

Here we have a booby in flight, coming in for a landing near another booby and a pelican. This gives me a nice segue into the pelican pictures. I know, I know, you want to see more boobies. Well, too bad. It was an overcast day and they really weren’t putting on the show we’d hoped for.

Pelicans may not be as silly or rare as blue footed boobies, but I like this picture.

The pelicanos liked to hang out on the back of the small boat our cruise ship was towing.

Coming in for a landing!

Now this is a cool perspective…

And of course we all know about Darwin’s finches… Here are a couple specimens enjoying a bird bath.

There, I feel much better now that we’ve fully covered our Galapagos wildlife sightings. Of course we really didn’t come close to seeing everything there is to see. Next time we go back we will have to seek out the red footed boobies, and we’ll need to bring along an underwater camera to catch the animals we see when we’re scuba diving.

Now, back to the present; I have a few anecdotes to pass on:

1) We’ve made our first enemy in Peru. Unintentionally, of course. We dined tonight in a restaurant across from our apartment. We got to the restaurant, found the menu ourselves after waiting a while for a server to show up, and placed our order after about 20 minutes. Another 40 minutes later our food made it to our table (How long does it take to make a ham and cheese sandwich? C’mon! Sadly, the wait time is typical). Mike also ordered a Coke and got a glass 2 inches tall and half filled with ice. Naturally, he finished the Coke in about 1 sip, and there’s no such thing as a free refill in Peru. He therefore ran across the street to a bodega (convenience store) and bought a liter of Coke so that he could refill his glass himself. Meanwhile a wet purple dog (the purple spots were some kind of medicine and he was wet from a trip to the ocean with the local kids) and a couple of kittens were running around the restaurant, which is also not too surprising in Peru. The food was pretty tasty, which made up (somewhat) for the other disappointments (my ham and cheese sandwich was fancy with balsamic vinagrette, etc. and Mike had a Thai curry). When the American owner swung by our table and asked how our food was, we said that it was “good.” He remarked that this was the “worst compliment” he’s received and that normally his guests are over the moon, praising his cooking. Whatever. We paid and left. When I passed by the restaurant a few minutes later on my way to teach I heard him complaining to other guests that he’s never heard such a shoddy compliment as “good” before. *Me, rolling my eyes* Jackass.

2) Next topic: whistle blowers. Not exactly the same as those corporate tattle-tales in the U.S., whistle blowers in Peru actually blow whistles. Loudly. All night long. Think of them as your neighborhood watch. In nicer and medium nice neighborhoods in Peru, local residents pay a night watchman to patrol their streets. He does so, ensuring that no miscreants wreak havoc in the middle of the night. But how are the residents to know that this watchman is doing his job and not sitting in a bar getting drunk? Why, by giving him a whistle, of course! The whistle blower circles the neighborhood from dusk til dawn, blowing his whistle. The locals can rest easy knowing that their property is well protected…except for the fact that it is difficult to actually rest when every five minutes someone is tooting a whistle at full volume beneath your bedroom window. I fall asleep and wake up to the whistle blower everyday. Such comfort, knowing he’s there!

3) Roof dogs. Now here’s a Peruvian phenomenon I can get behind! With limited yard space, many Peruvians relegate their mutts to the flat roofs covering their humble abodes. Although there are certainly plenty of dogs freely roaming the streets still, I like how the occassional pooch is left to guard its house from above. I have little fear of doggy jaws when they are 12 feet off the ground. *Roof, roof!*

4) Cebiche is another check mark in the “Pro” column for Peru. This is a local dish that I find surprisingly tasty, considering how I thought I hated seafood only months ago. Nearly every restaurant serves it. Basically, it consists of raw fish marinated in a limon and onion mixture for several hours. Cebiche is best when it is a little spicy, too. Usually it is served with yucca, which is one of my favorite vegetables (I think it’s a veg…at any rate it is similar to a potato in taste). Although I can’t get enthusiastic about eating Cebiche everyday (especially since you usually have to pick out the fish bones yourself), I do like to have it every now and then.

Okay, that’s it for anecdotes today, but don’t worry — we’ll have plenty more to share. Also, I finished my first day of teaching English, but I’ll save that saga for another time as well. Toodles.

4 Responses to “Galapagos Birds — Part II”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Great to see your pictures again! And I enjoyed all your anecdotes. I think I could get used to the whistles soon enough. It will be awhile before we can even open windows here, as the wind chills have been down to 20 below!! Can’t wait to hear how the first few days of teaching are going!Mom

  2. Kristen says:

    Sister! & Mike! Sounds like you guys are having a good time so far at your new destination. Thanks so much for the new years call the other night – sorry if I was a little tipsy! 🙂 Can’t wait to hear about teaching…and surfing. And other tidbits about the local life – I’m sure it’ll be interesting staying in one place for a while and getting to know the people and places around you. Love ya – hope you have a great start to your new year!

  3. Dr_Omega says:

    Hi, I’ll bet it’s nice to have a computer again. Cebiche is a Peruvian national dish per internet search…and you know the internet has only truthful info! Keep posting to the blog. D

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hooray for computers! Loved the pictures especially the dancing boobie. It was worth waiting for!Try not to make too many enemies in Peru.Americans already have a bad enough image. How goes the teaching? I think I am starting a new student in Lit.Vol. this week from Russia.Speaks no English except “My name is_.” Laura just left for HI after having to rebook due to traffic problems in Chicago. I am in a very sad mood, missing all of you so call when you can.Love, Mom

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