Charly and the reptile kings of Galapagos, part two
When I arrived to Isabela the driver was unable to find the hotel. I wanted to strangle him but he ran away without asking for the fee. I found the hotel with local help and compulsive asking. It had another name than on the booking site. I understood that people are not too formalist in the islands, you keep away from iguana and everything will be OK. The hostel was a kind of Mediterranean, improved, fisherman Greek contraption and I had the room on the top floor with a huge terrace facing the ocean and an enormous stretch of white sand. The view was people empty. The owner did not like me too much. It was reciprocal. He thought that I may want to inherit of him and I was surprised by the acuity of his feelings. For such a view many people will give a hand and a leg or commit themselves.
Food was not very good on the island and I lost my alter ego on the street. I mean my smartphone. I told this history already, in another post, but so much was the amount of dismay and the depth of my hysteria that I do not mind to relate it again. It could lead maybe to a certain independence from the damn contraption. We are on the edge of losing our life in a couple of seconds and get bonkers for the loss of some thin soldered wires, a piece of cardboard, moulded plastic envelops, colour and lights coming from nowhere manufactured by a team of not very sympathetic Chinese. Having seen them once in an airport emptying a duty free perfume joint? They look so angry, point accusing index fingers and emit some inarticulate sounds. That it is true only for the well doing middle class, the academics and the management wizards speak better English than I. But to go back to the smartphone, I was not using it extensively but for an enormously lone individual vagrant the world wide potential relationship with the rest of the human race, reduced to four or five individual is the warrant of a certain amount of mental sanity. I do not know how but I succeeded to calm down and in the morning my beloved mother, the conjurer, you know her very well, made that I received an email from a fairy girl who found my phone and simply asked me to come to pick it up. After such a miracle, I though that it was wise to leave for Santa Cruz as soon as possible to keep the luck going. Maybe it was you who did the miracle, I do not know. Sorry!
My sense of justice, as you very well know by meaning of my name in my national idiom, which sounds like judge, force me to come back to the issue of iguana. I was feeling that it was too much shooting from the hip within my depiction of the beast. Then I did some checking and the results were astonishing. The animal is herbivore but can go into meat, carrion too if needed. It has a third eye, a kind of parietal eye which may explain his hieratic attitudes and fantastic vision. Buddha like I guess! They communicate between them with long distance visual signals but I do not know how. They have a dewlap or flap, they can blow to scare you or a tom cat underneath the chin. This skin fold is a feature that they share with the male frigate birds and even with old men…And now the bonus, they, well the males, are endowed with three hemi-pennies provided with hooks. That it is a riot! But I refuse to comment this issue because I do not want to slide into obscene. Children are going to read maybe my letters…And if you want dear Danarel to know something more I can tell you that a glorious scholar, an innovative thinker, a culture builder, who beyond that was a fine example of virile man beauty described them some 150 years ago as having “a singularly stupid appearance”, quite my own words. You guess who the great man was: Charles Darwin. I have to recognize that despite my initial ignorance I was mightily flattered.At Isabela I understood how the business goes and I decided that I am not going to take tours; I will do personal exploration. I had one during which I have I have seen three flamingos, four penguins, some ten blue-footed boobies, fairly ridiculous, two sharks trapped into a channel and scores of iguanas, giant tortoises and lazy seals. It was enough. The Isabela seals do not count; they are running their own business into the human compound. They sleep, like drunks in the middle of the street. People pass nearby carefully not to disturb them. They have a fantastic dentition and steel muscles. The elegance of their curves is beyond depiction. I wonder if there is somewhere a mathematician able to conceive the algorithm of their stupendous outline. Probably God! In spite of the fact that I may have seen a case of apparent and moderate polygamy it seems that the female fur seals of Galapagos have the upper hand. They are endemic, as many animal and vegetal species, territorial, nourish alone the pup, and run their family young and older pups with an iron hand, so to say, in order to give the weakest pup, the younger, their necessary quantity of maternal milk. If the older misbehave they are punished on the spot. I took a speed boat to go to Santa Cruz. It was not the most pleasant experience in spite the speed, the blue waters of ocean, the invigorating sea spray and the challenging angle of the prow. It not as bad as being in an elevator with strangers but to look to people seated in face of you for more than one hour is undoubtedly cumbersome. Have a book revered angel, or dark glasses and you will feel fine. But let’s have now a whiff of Santa Cruz where the game, because travelling is a game, was much more elaborate than that of Isabela’s.
The seals of Santa Cruz are of the same stock like those of Isabela a fact that in this archipelago of compulsive variation it often the rule and never a certitude. However, here the similitude ends. Behaviourally they are completely different animals. If the Isabella ottaries shine though a lascivious sleeping stance, the Santa Cruz male mean business and competition. They are into an aggressive begging trade, if you know the brand. I went to the market. It was full with seals, but one on the quay at a time. They cannot stand concurrence and are head-butting to start. If someone does not understand they become mean. To make a long story short I rarely seen such strong muscular bastards in my life. They look like disco bouncers. They can do everything. Not only they are excellent circus performers, but they jump into the empty boats and fell on stiff banks or plain boards without to care as they were landing (?) on an elastic trampoline. They stand up on their weird tail like they were on the powerful giant soles of a NBA player, bark endlessly and wait to be fed. From time to time the fish cleaners are giving them a bite or more. The whole business is illegal. Do I needed to got to see them yawning on the slopes? Not. The market is the place to meet them. However, there is another major player in the market, a shameless, elegant ruffian which neither barks nor squawks. The frigate bird just slides, plunges and grasps…..