Disagreeing with Charles Darwin

We were soon decamping at San Cristobal airport in the company of our Galapagos co-ordinator, Paulina. She hailed a cab. “When you get a cab round here you don’t need to give a street,” she advised. “Just say the name of the family. Everyone knows everyone.”  There was a slight pause. “It’s a small island,” […]


Ending up in prison

Prison gates must look the same all over the world. Tall, steel and fitted with one of those imposing sliding grills. I was the first out of the taxi. I tapped hesitantly on the grill. “Hola,” I called quietly. The grill slid back and an Ecuadorian eye observed the four gringos standing on the pavement. We squinted back at him through […]


Herman and hair loss

Ecuadorian bureaucracy is a joy for which there are apparently no limits. It started at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where you need a mountain of paperwork, every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed, to obtain your visa. Yawn. It continued today in spectacular fashion. Last week we successfully obtained our full visas via the […]


Quito: A Day in the Life

My days in Quito have settled into an easy and surprisingly enjoyable routine – I am already feeling sad about swapping this city for the Galapagos (I know!) and even considering re-enrolling at the school again afterwards. This is how my day goes… 6.40am – Wake up. 7am – Say hola to Maria and devour her breakfast. 7.30am […]