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Retrospect Travel Log: Mexico and Galapagos

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All photos credit: Guy Podjarny

Over the winter holidays, we travelled to Mexico and Galapagos Islands. It was an incredible experience, and we feel privileged to have been able to make this trip. It’s a fun story, and I want to share it with you.

We begin, really, about six months ago when we started looking into a trip to Galapagos Islands, which both my partner and I have been wanting to visit. Now that the kids are older, we decided that we could take them on more challenging trips. By challenging, by the way, we don’t mean uncomfortable (because we’re very spoiled). Challenging means more active trips that require us to actually do stuff. So, we looked at other things we might do while we’re on that side of the world and decided to visit Machu Picchu, one of the World's Wonders which has also been on our list for a while now.

Fast forward to December. I have a flight booked to go to Israel for a few days before we head to South America, as it’s my dad’s memorial. December with children in school in England is a bit insane because there are Christmas concerts and all kinds of special events happening, so my time is pretty tightly scheduled.

And then there’s a coup in Peru. That’s not good, we agree, not for the Peruvian people nor, indeed, for our travel plans. We scrap Peru (at this point, I’m in Israel, and my partner is heroically handling the logistics of getting four people to a sun destination over Christmas). We go to Mexico instead. We arrive Wednesday night (after a rather stressful connection in Miami), and on Thursday, we just enjoy the resort: the sun, the beach, the pool, everything is just perfect.

Sunrise at the resort. Jet lag has some advantages.

In addition, completely unplanned (at least by us), the resort we stay in has tours to Chichén Itzá, the ancient Mayan temple in Yucatan. And they’re available to take us on Friday. So we go. We walk around, accompanied by an archaeologist studying the cenotes (waterholes) surrounding this imposing, unlikely pyramid. I’m jetlagged and not feeling great but in awe of this World's Wonder and our incredible luck for being able to visit it.

A 3000-year-old temple or possibly clock/calendar

My daughter’s reaction: it’s hot here. To her credit, it was rather hot (the locals say it’s two degrees cooler than hell), and we were all jetlagged. And she’s 11.

We come back from Chichén Itzá chased by a storm. By the time we get to the hotel, it’s raining hard. And it continues to rain for the next four days. We’re stuck in the room, seeing as the resort is a beach resort and, as such, has all sorts of activities you can do when it’s sunny. But we don’t mind so much because we’ve all caught something (probably at the airport) and are in bed with a fever. We get better just in time for the flight to Galapagos Islands.

The Quintessential Galapagos picture, or so we were told.

The Galapagos part of the trip is nothing short of amazing. Here’s where the story part ends, and the pictures begin.

Some things I learned on the Galapagos trip, in no particular order:

  • Living on a ship is definitely not for me, thank you very much.

The ship that was our home for a week.
  • When looking at a screen makes you sick, you detox real quick. I’m sure not having an internet connection also helped, but we should consider investing in this as a solution for screen addiction.

  • Screen detox is excellent, but once you can look at a screen again, you will go right back to it because that’s how we’re wired.

  • Blue-footed boobies are amazing birds. Their name comes from the Spanish word bobo, which translates to silly. The colonialist who named them thought they were silly because they weren’t afraid of people. Also, probably, because he didn’t look at them for very long.

A blue-footed booby doing its thing
  • The Galapagos Islands were basically left intact because there was nothing useful there, and the soil wasn’t suitable for agriculture. We got lucky.

Nothing here but crabs and rocks. Let's go exploit somewhere else!

  • If left to their own devices, cacti can have trunks like trees. That’s pretty cool.

Hundreds-years-old cactus doing its thing.
  • Adolescent sea lions’ favourite game is swimming towards you at an incredible speed and swerving at the very last nanosecond. It’s very stressful for middle age mothers of adolescent humans. The adolescent humans, by the way, found this game and my stress extremely hilarious.

A non-adolescent sea lion doing its thing.

  • Sharks are pretty cool.

A white tip shark doing its thing.

  • Sea turtles are also pretty cool.

A female sea turtle going back into the ocean after laying eggs.

  • Iguanas are cool, but also weird. You can be cool and weird at the same time.

Iguanas in an island. This point is aptly nicknamed Iguanapolis

We are now back and sort of settled. We have recovered from the jet lag, the kids are back in school, and things are in full swing. But every now and again, we remind ourselves to be sea lions for a bit, to lay down on the sofa and rest.


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