From the road
I wanted to help fill in while Lindsay was gone, but I've been gone too. For the past ten days I've been in Galapagos (that's how the locals, and natives refer to the islands and I've picked up the habit, I'm not sure if it's affectation, or just proper speech, but there it is).
With luck (and perhaps some perserverance) this won't be a once in a lifetime thing, because we weren't here long enough (I'm not sure I can afford long enough, but a month might be acceptable). If you can find the time and the money, it's worth it (for those who have any interest in "natural philosophy" as what we now call natural history/science was once called).
There is no way to get to the various islands but by boat, which is an adventure. The landscapes are severe, and lush. Radically different with the smallest of elevations. The swimming is ok, the snorkeling incredible. Diving is probably as much better than snorkeling, as snorkeling is to swimming, but we didn't do any.
Ecuador is serious about protecting the islands (rumors are that they may be closed to tourism, or the access greatly restricted) so all but a very small fraction are closed to traffic (though most of the islands have paths) and a guide is required to make a legal landfall.
Right now I am enjoying my breakfast in Quito, before I take my taxi to the airport and make my way home. A more detailed account of the trip is under way on my blog Better than salt money , and will continue for a few days until I've caught up.
Right now the photos I wanted to post (out of some 40 gigs of files) won't go. I'll try again at the airport (Quito is a tolerably well wired city).