Ecuador

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, 1995

Jim’s Perspectives:  Ecuador gets its name from the Spanish word meaning equator, and in several places the country actually demarks the equatorial line, most notably at the park Mitad del Mundo, or “Middle of the World”. However, many people visit Ecuador en route to the volcanic Galapagos Islands. Prior to visiting the Galapagos we stayed in Quito, which is situated at the base of a volcano, making it prone to earthquakes! In fact the world’s largest volcano, Cotopaxi, is located in Ecuador. Another note about Quito … take it easy when you arrive there … the city sits at ~ 9,500 feet above sea level and if you use the gym, or walk briskly around town, don’t be surprised if you are out of breath!  We visited the market Otavalo (not to be missed) as well as the city of Guyalquil. My wife Susan, my dad and I loved our time in the Galapagos in 1994.  We took a small yacht around the islands, allowing us to see the incredible landscapes and ocean life up close.  While in the Galapagos, visitors will enjoy unique wildlife, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving (which was incredible).  However, the real spectacle are seeing the animals up close … because they know no predators … and you can get right up next to them!!!!

One fun fact is that the capital city is Quito. The city is situated at the base of a volcano, making the city prone to earthquakes! In fact the world’s largest volcano, Cotopaxi, is located in Ecuador.

Country Information:  In Ecuador, there are roughly 16 million Ecuadorians in a country slightly smaller than Nevada. The capital is Quito. The official language here is Castillian Spanish, but Quechua and Shuar are common languages also spoken. Roman Catholicism is the main religion practiced here. Ecuador has two time zones. Mainland time is the same as EST, while the Galapagos Islands is one hour behind EST.

In Quito, Ecuador
Seals in Galapagos
Blue footed boobies on the Galapagos
Otavalo market in Ecuador

Eritrea

Country Information:  Eritrea stands for “Red” due to its proximity to the Red Sea. The capital is Asmara, and 6 million people live here. Main languages are Tigrinya and Arabic, followed by Tigre. In the country’s more commercial cities, more English speakers can be...

Armenia

Jim's Perspectives: Had a chance to visit the USSR in 1987, with my Russian history professor Dr. Willis Brooks and about 15 other students. The trip took us to see the top destinations in the country. After going to Moscow, we traveled down to visit Tbilisi, the...

Moldova

Cleaning up the parks and streets in Moldova for Independence celebration! Took a trip organized by MIR Travel which started out in Moldova, then to Ukraine, on to Belarus, Lithuania, and ended in Latvia. The capital of Moldova is Chișinău. Moldova declared its...