Note: With this many photos today, the paragraph spacing is off and unable to be corrected. But, we thought the photos were more important than line and paragraph spacing.
The Galapagos Islands are, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating places we’ve visited in the world. The magic and mystery of these islands leave one breathless with awe and wonder. Speaking of breathlessness, it is wonderful to be back at sea level and able to move about while struggling for air. In a matter of minutes after we landed in Baltra, The Galapagos Islands, all the altitude sickness symptoms were gone, and we were so relieved.
In less than a week, we’ll be returning to Quito for the last few days until we fly to Manta and drive to our new home in Ecuador for the next few months. We’ll have to face the altitude issues again, but perhaps it won’t be so bad after our recent exposure. We’ll think about that later.
The ship is a catamaran built in 2017, with spacious cabins, dining room, bar, and lounge areas that make socializing easy. The dining room has two large tables for eight, which is perfect for our group of 16. The food is spectacular. The “hotel manager,” Augustin, and the chef met with me yesterday to review my food list. After a short conversation, they understood my requirements and seamlessly followed through.
Due to this cruise’s small group of passengers, we’ll eat three times a day, like everyone else. We felt it was rude not to dine with everyone during the three meals and will eat a small amount at lunch to hold us for dinner, which is served at 7:00 pm.
Last night, at dinner, we had a great time and later made our way up the steep steps (almost a ladder) to the bar area. Tom hung onto me to ensure I didn’t fall, and we did fine. It’s good that we don’t drink a lot, or those steps would be hazardous. Luckily, our cabin is located on the main level, where the dining room and lounge are located, one deck below the bar. We have what is referred to as a junior suite, smaller than a hotel room but comfortable with everything we need.
Oddly, we aren’t allowed to put used loo paper into the loo. This is a first for us. There is a trash can near the loo. It took a few times to get used to that, but now we are OK with complying. The pristine nature of these islands, owned, loved, and protected by the Ecuadorian country, is observed with strict rules and regulations.
We fully appreciate their commitment to protecting the environment and its outstanding wildlife population and vegetation, unlike anywhere else besides Antarctica, which we visited in 2018 to discover the same attention to detail in protecting the wildlife and environment.
Now for the hard-to-write news, I’ve been putting off for over a week… A week ago Friday, in our hotel room in Eden Prairie, my legs gave out, and I fell, tripping over my own feet and landing on my face, a typical “face plant.” My nose bled profusely for an hour, and I had rug burns on my nose, under my eye, and my cheek. Immediately, Tom made ice packs for me, which prevented me from getting two black eyes. Fortunately, we had no plans the next day, and I could continue to ice it.
When we finally went out, I was able to cover up the injuries with makeup, so it wasn’t obvious. Gosh, someone could have thought Tom and I got into a fistfight. We are the least likely couple to do so, neither of us ever behaving violently, let alone fighting.
I didn’t want to write about this since I realize I’m often whinging about my medical issues here and didn’t want to “complain” further. But now, the harsh reality is before us on this ship, impacting both of us immensely.
The two surgeries on each of my legs left me with nerve damage in both legs. Over time and with aging, this has only worsened to the point where I am having tremendous difficulty walking long distances, on uneven terrain, and on occasion, even on the carpet in a hotel room.
We had booked this cruise before this situation worsened to the degree it is now. I have trouble walking, maneuvering around furniture, and any obstacles that may be in my way. Subsequently, after considerable discussions, there is no way I can go out on the excursions on the Zodiac boats to the various islands with the terrain consisting of volcanic rock, small rocks, pebbles, and up and downhill climbs. It’s just not possible.
As a result, Tom will go out on all the excursions and take photos of the wildlife, vegetation, and scenery. When he returns, he shares the photos and details for me to share with all of you here. Am I miserable about this? No, it’s been coming gradually over the past few years, and as always, I’ve adapted as we always do.
Sure, I can maneuver about the ship, but it is tentatively so, especially when the ship is moving in rough waters. Sure, I’ll be able to grocery shop, cook, and be active about the house when we move along in nine days. Yes, I can do short walks wherever we may be to get some exercise, but only on flat surfaces. This is my reality. I can live with it. Nor does it impede our desire to continue on. We’ll have to make some adjustments—enough about that.
Starting tomorrow, we will begin posting information about The Galapagos Islands and stop focusing on my issues. Thank you for your ongoing understanding, warm wishes, and patience as we begin a new way of traveling considering these disabilities.
Photo from ten years ago today, October 15, 2013: