Flying away tonight…Can’t wait to get down to sea level…Final photos from Galapagos Islands…

Blue-footed booby on a walk, although they are excellent flyers.

Note: Our naturalist, Orlando, took today’s photos, which he sent me daily via WhatsApp. Thanks, Orlando!

Shockingly, I haven’t suffered with Afib while we’ve spent five days total at an altitude of 9350″, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly since we arrived in Quito on October 11, 12 days ago. During the five nights we’ve spent at the JW Marriott in Quito, Ecuador, we’ve both felt the effects of the altitude in many ways, more for me than for Tom.

Tom gets out of breath during exertion, and my heart races when I walk or move about the hotel room. Fortunately, once I rest, it goes back down to normal. However, when we got off the boat on Saturday, my heart rate hovered between 85 and 100 all night, high for me. Last night, for the first time in 12 nights, we both slept well.

Salted lagoon, Floreana Island.

For the first of the five nights in Quito, my heart rate was normal, which allowed me to sleep. My Fitbit says I slept for a much-needed eight hours. But now, at noon, almost two full days since we returned from the boat and its frequent seasickness, I must admit, I am looking forward to getting down to sea level and situated in our new holiday home on the sea.

The smell of the fresh ocean air and the use of the infinity pool will be such a welcome relief which I hope to do daily, weather permitting, for exercising my legs, hoping for some improvement in walking. All of my whining is related to having had open heart surgery in 2019 and the lingering effects that have impacted my (our) lifestyle to a great degree. If I walk too much, I get Afib. If I don’t walk enough, you know what I mean.

Gorgeous scenery at Floreana Island, a millions-of-years-old volcano.

I apologize for whining. Once we get settled, I will be a new person. In 24 hours, we will go to Mirador San Jose, Manabi Province in Ecuador, a gated community with a beautiful property. Many photos will follow. It will be delightful to grocery shop at the nearby supermarket (supermercado) after we’ve seen how much space there is in the refrigerator and freezer.

Often, refrigerators in holiday homes are small. But, if so, we will manage and simply shop more frequently—no big deal. Also, there is often a lack of storage space for non-perishable food items, but here again, we’ll make do. We’ve hired a three-hour cleaning person every Tuesday morning at 8:00 for $20 per week. In the US a year ago, we paid $25 an hour, as we did when we had the cleaner once a month when we stayed in The Villages in Florida three months ago.

 A Galapagos flycatcher. Adorable.

Gee, I haven’t cooked a meal since then, and I look forward to making a special home-cooked meal at least five nights a week after we investigate to determine if dining out is a good option in that area. If so, we’ll dine out every Friday and Saturday night, which might allow us to socialize with locals and tourists.

It’s funny how I remember several Spanish words we learned when we spent four months in Costa Rica. I can easily read a menu and road signs and understand short sentences. I can’t necessarily speak it well in sentences, but with the help of Google Translate on my phone, we’ll be fine.

Speaking of my phone, I couldn’t get into our Google Fi account to access WiFi once we left the hotel after using their WiFi for five days, which was very good. I tried everything I could to get it to work, to no avail. I had no choice but to call Google Fi, which quickly responded, but when we were halfway through the troubleshooting process, the call dropped. I called back and again, and a rep responded quickly.

A wave albatross flying back to Espanola Island, the oldest island in The Galapagos.

We resolved the issue quickly when I had to select an arbitrary network Google Fi uses in Ecuador, Claro. I’d never have known this if I hadn’t called. Good thing I called, or we’d had a nightmare on our hands tonight when driving in the dark to the hotel and tomorrow, driving to the house without the ability to use Maps. Any time we’ve tried to use “Maps” in many countries without being able to connect to Google Fi,  depending on satellite conditions, we often hear “her’ say, “Make a U-turn,” over and over again. This drives us crazy.

Well, enough about all of that. In less than seven hours, we’ll be on the plane, pressurized for easy breathing, and God willing, all will be well. It’s only a 50-minute flight. We’ll most likely miss dinner again tonight since last night, I wasn’t feeling well enough to go to the restaurant and couldn’t find anything on the room service menu. It will be close to 10 00 pm by the time we get to the hotel in Manta. So, well miss two dinners, two nights in a row. That’s no big deal, either.

After grocery shopping and unpacking a bit tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be back with a new post with some photos of our new home. Stay tuned for more.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, October 23, 2013:

A bushbaby with a banana was next to us last night as we dined outdoors at the Leopard Beach Resort in Diani Beach, Kenya. A small platform was set up for the bushbabies, loaded with bananas to encourage them to visit the guests while dining. For more photos, please click here.

Looking forward to sea level tomorrow…Tom went on the Quito city tour…I could not…

There are many unique lizards on the islands we look forward to seeing. Not our photo.

I am suffering from mild altitude sickness and am looking forward to flying to sea level tomorrow morning. My symptoms are typical; difficulty breathing, legs and arms feel like lead due to lack of oxygen, and dizziness when standing or walking. My pulse is slightly faster than usual but is not Afib, for which I am grateful.

Tomorrow at 9:30 am, our group heads to the airport, where we’ll fly to Baltra, Ecuador. It’s less than a two-hour flight, and in 24 hours, we’ll be at sea level. I can’t wait. Right now, I am having quite a problem walking, much worse than usual. I can only hope I can go out to the various islands to see the fantastic wildlife awaiting us.

Determined to see everything, I will try with every bit of determination. This trip has meant a lot to us, seeing this stunning place known for its wide array of wildlife, some even prehistoric.

Had we known I’d be having Afib issues and difficulty walking, we most likely wouldn’t have booked this trip, especially with this high altitude in Quito, Ecuador, at 9350 feet, 2850 meters high. I didn’t have the first Afib episode until April this year, and my ability to walk has worsened since we had Covid-19 in April 2022.

Oh, well, as they say, “It’s hell to get old.” If we were living somewhere permanently, I suppose these disabilities of mine would be easier to tolerate. I’d be close to medical care if needed, so much walking wouldn’t be required. We’re now considering places we can visit that won’t require strenuous walking.

The Islands | Galápagos Conservancy
Map of the Galapagos Islands.

But we aren’t ready to end our journey. There are many countries we can visit where we tour the areas by car, although neither of us is a big fan of long road trips. Although, if the scenery is impressive, we don’t mind. We shall see what the future holds. We love cruising on small ships, especially now with the return of Covid-19.

However, on cruises, there are countless excursions off of the ships, often requiring walking for hours. If we can accept this reality on the premise that we lose the days at sea, we can reserve such tours for hiring a driver to drive us around the area at various ports of call. This is a good plan.

I do fine walking about the ship, around a hotel, or at a vacation home, cooking meals, and tidying up and doing laundry. That leaves us with many options.

If we discover I can handle the terrain on the various islands we’ll visit on the cruise in the Galapagos Islands; Tom will go with the camera and take many photos for me and all of you to see. It won’t be anywhere as meaningful not seeing everything first-hand, but I must prepare myself for this reality. The islands consist of volcanic rock. This may be the problem as opposed to level smooth surfaces.

I am now waiting for Tom to take photos on the tour, which will automatically appear in my Google Photos app. So far, I haven’t seen any, which may result in this post’s late uploading.

At this point, I should mention that the WiFi may not be good on the ship in this remote area. If you don’t see a post from us, please know that is the reason we weren’t able to prepare and upload any posts. I can write the text on another app and will save the stories to which we’ll add the photos once the cruise ends, not unlike how we did it when we had a poor signal on the Norway cruise.

If possible, I assure you, we will attempt to do a new post each day. So, please stay tuned for our next post, which may or may not be tomorrow since it’s a morning flight and then the trip to the boat, which could take the bulk of the day. We’ll be busy unpacking and getting ready for dinner once we board the small ship (16 passengers). Please check back daily.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, October 13, 2013:

In the Maasai Mara, Kenya…How did we get so close, so lucky to get this shot? I must be dreaming! For more photos, please click here.