September 14/15, 2008
I asked the hotel clerk to have a taxi for me to take me 40 km to the Itabaca Canal and the ferry to Baltra Island.
On the ride to the ferry I remembered the thoughts that I had as I rode into Porto Ayora. Everything that I had expected was so far short of the actual experience. In retrospect it would have been impossible to predict what I have done, seen, and experienced. It is impossible to adequately put all of this into words. Words cannot convey the grandeur, the intensity, the scale, the magic of this place and the emotions of being here. This has been an experience of a lifetime.
The flight from the Galapagos to Guayaquil was smooth and uneventful. The same cannot be said of the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel! Of all the dangers that I encountered on the islands I was never as terrified as I was in that short taxi ride. From this experience I was able to interpret the traffic laws as they apply to taxis as the following: go very fast, stop centimeters from the car in front of you, and weave violently through traffic barely missing just about everything! I was happy to have made it to my hotel in one piece!
Once settled into my room I turned on CNN and called home on my cell phone - nothing except a few random noises, that is odd. I called my wife's cell phone and she answered. She said listen to this I am going to hold the phone outside! All I could hear was a roaring wind noise. She told me that Ohio was experiencing sustained hurricane force winds of 80 mph and that power was out in all of central Ohio. At this same time CNN was reporting live on the severe weather in Ohio; I repeated to her what was being reported. Here I was in Guayaquil Ecuador, South America watching live CNN telling my wife what is happening with the weather and power issues where she was in Ohio! It was a very strange, somewhat helpless, feeling!
The flights back to Columbus were smooth and easy. Even the seven-hour layover in Miami did not seem too bad. The topic of conversation on the plane from Miami to Columbus was all about the windstorm and the power issues. We landed nicely in Columbus and my wife and son were there to greet me. It sure felt good to be home. As it turned out my neighborhood was one of the lucky ones; it was without power for only about 10 hours. There were still hundreds of thousands without power and all schools and most businesses were closed. It was still great to be back!