Friday, May 30, 2008

More Pictures!

Here are some random old pics from when camera still worked that i will toss up!

Here was one of the zillions of identical Scraggle dogs that i had mentioned earlier

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Last Picture from Stupid Camera

Yes the sun has set on my digital still camera, but the journey must continue
(actually this is a sunrise, but it would make more sense if it were a sunset)

@ Puerto Chino

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tortugos Everywhere!

So the Galapagos trip is really starting to heat up, and i am spending the days swimming with tortoises and sea lions and won't have as much time to blog. But i will catch up when i return to quito!
For now they will be a bit sporadic


Andrew James Quitmeyer
B.S., University of Illinois - General Engineering
B.A., University of Illinois - Film Production
Media Specialist, University of Illinois - Family Resiliency Center
President, McKnight Center for the Arts, Urbana Sector

(217) - 419 - 1635



Since the Islands are really not meant to be inhabited by anything due to
its lack of bare essentials for life such as food and water, conservation is
a big thing on the islands. Thus when i was showering today i thought i
would lend my hand at saving these precious island by cutting off the water
and soaping up sin agua. So i spend a few minutes in silence, coating
myself entirely with a thick lathery mix of the soap and mud from
camping, before attempting to rinse myself back off. Then as my hand
violently shot off the nob when i tried to turn the water back on, a
(non cleansing) wave of fear crashed over my head: I was far too
slippery to get the rusty knob of the shower on, and the only way to
become less slippery was to get the shower on!

Seven full minutos pass by with a big hairy slippery sea lion of a
man, squeaking and sliding across the tub in a fit to get the nob to
turn. My host family started asking, what sounded like, concerned
questiones, before i finally was able to get a tight enough grip on
the knob by using my two elbows as a sort of vice grip.

My brand new still camera broke which is very sad, apparently
water/shock/heat/ice proof doesn't mean sand proof. So i guess you
won't be able to get many cool pictures to see up on the blog for at
least a while.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Some people may think back to the great Galapaguerra with the nostalgia of a time where the rift between good and evil, right and wrong was more clear cut. A time when our youngest tortoises marched off  to victory, (and, sadly, some to their own demise) yet there was a strong kinship between neighbors, and everyone did their part to help with the war effort. Why i remember when Jimmy the tortoise was barely crawling from the egg; he picked up his brother's old army fatigues, a stalk of lettuce that he had shaped into a crude rifle-figure, and marched straight down to the recruitment center to lend his services. Though he was far too young then to enlist, jimmy served his country proud by improving troop morale as the youngest Tortoise radio personality, and touring the troops' camps demonstrating his famous "Tortuga Stomp."
But of course that was the Galapaguerra, whereas i went to the Galapaguera, which was entirely different. Not as much warring, but still as many tortoises.
More on that to come later.


Andrew James Quitmeyer
Student, University of Illinois - General Engineering
Student, University of Illinois - Film Production
Media Specialist, University of Illinois - Family Resiliency Center
President, McKnight Center for the Arts, Urbana Sector

(217) - 419 - 1635

Friday, May 23, 2008

Andino y Pepito

NOTE: I just got to upload some images so check out previous posts everynow and then for more pics. Hopefully, i will get a lot of it done tonight, because tomorrow we are camping out and i won't be back in contact for a day or 2.


Pulled into the Galapagos today! There was a very breif orientation, and then free time until our host families came to pick us up. I sprinted straight across the street from the universidad and into the ocean.

There are sea lions (lobos), crazy crabs (seballos [sp?]), and lizards all over the beach. A sea lion swam right between me and another guy about 6 inches away. It took only about half an hour of exploring the beach to get my first experience of sprinting down the beach from an angry male sea lion that i had accidently angered.

The crabs here can also hop, which freaked me out when i was stranded on a rock near the beach that was slowly being covered with crabs! Speaking of crabs, i noticed some of the local kids walking right up to the crabs and just ripping them in half with their hands and teeth. It kind of freaked me out, so i started talking to them to figure out what they were doing. They would take the crab bits and toss them into the shallow part of the ocean and let the waves drag the crab chunks over the sand, then creepy white bug/crustacean things would pop out of the sand to eat the crab and the kids would grab the creepy white things and eat those.

This is also where another fantastic blunder happened in my journey into the language of spanish. I asked the kids if the crabs pinched using my made-up spanish cognate of "pincher" to communicate the idea while also using exaggerated hand gestures, but the phrase seemed to just freak out the kids on the beach a bit. I later relayed the tale to a girl in my group, Carol, who informed me that pincher was closer to the F-word in english than "to pinch."

I got to snap a few quick pics of some of the amazing fish here, but i am sure that wildlife pics will be greatly expanded upon in the next 2 weeks.

Our host families then came to pick us up, and i was lucky enough to be the only guy from the group who got to be with a host family on his own! So it is just me and Pepe and Fabiola and Pepito Jr. and only one of us speaks english (me!). My spanish name is Andres, and my dimuniative, cute name is Andino. I played a lot with the little baby Pepito before we went out to the restraunt, Calypso, and took a tour of the city. There is a beautiful little plaza overlooking the bay, with hundreds of sea lions everywhere!

Here are views from the back yard of the house i am staying at. (YOU CAN ALSO TAKE STEPS RIGHT UP TO THE ROOF!)

Tommorow I am going to jog the length of the island at 6 AM, visit the Galapagierra, and spend the night camping on an island!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Today we took on the climb to the base camp of the tallest peak in ecuador, a volcano named Cotapaxi. The base camp was 4800 meters up which is apparently higher than any peak in the continental US. The air was so thin you would have to stop every 20 feet or so and you could feel your racing heartbeat pouding in the dilated capilaries pumping blood into your brain.

Took a little over an hour to climb up and about a 7 minute, 20+ mph sprint to get down.

That night our dreamy guide (who works at USFQ) took us salsa dancing. I was doing pretty good considering the inate lack of rhythm and managed to pick up some fancy spins and even flipped a girl!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


We left Maquipucuna in the late afternoon and arrived at an organic/experimental farm called Tucanopy. There to greet us was an epic battle between a Dachschund named Lupe, and a wild pig that the owners had named "Julia Roberts." Just wait until you see the video.

UPDATE: LINK IS HERE in case embedding doesn't work!

We took 6 ziplines that were hundreds of meters in length through the canopy of the jungle. Sometimes you would have to kick palm trees and such out of your way, but mostly the flora would kick you before you even noticed. It offered such an incredible view of the forrest that it was simply amazing. We got tremendous video of it!

tomorrow we go up to a volcano up to 15,000 feet where it is snowing!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Visited the Universidad San Francisco de Quito ( where i will be spending my last weeks in Ecuador teaching

Went for Night

Monday, May 19, 2008

La Mitad del Mundo

First i would like to point out that anytime i write anything in spanish please don't rely on it to be correct in anyway. So the title of this, and anything else in spanish, may have completely incorrect gender, tense, spelling and such (Not that my spelling in english is always correct).

Today at dinner, i got up to use the restroom and wanted to eloquently communicate the idea that i was just going to the bathroom for just a little bit, but that i would have the vegetarian plate. Instead of using any of the fancier verbs and phrases i have been learning in the past few days though, i managed to just awkwardly blurt out, "Soy...Bano. Vegetariano" ("I am bathroom. Vegetarian.")

We went to the third largest volcano in the world (Yellowstone is first) and met the first of many scraggle dogs that ecuador produces. Scientists currently speculate that there are Scraggle dog factories buried deep in the mountains which keep Quito's population booming. (Upcoming pictures may elucidate these concepts)

From there we traveled to an outside museum at the actual equator, where our guide introduced us to head shrinking techniques, alternative male support systems, and experiments that can only be performed at the center of the world. Water drained in opposite directions on each side, you could balance an egg on the head of a pin, and it was really difficult to walk a straight line along the equator (So don't get pulled over for a suspected DUI if you are driving down the equator).

After that, we went to a gorgeous restaurant at the fake center of the earth. This place is a big tourist village that was created by government agents with a good idea to attract tourism but poor surveying tools.

Then we had our city tour, checked out the gilded churches and gigantic statue of Mary overlooking Quito.

Tomorrow we will be heading to the cloud forrest (like a rainforest, but in the mountains) for hiking and ziplining through the canopy.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


This pic was amazingly done with a self timer since this included all the people in the room! If you notice i did a good job of having the creepiest face in the room.

The first night we were here, the doorman led a group of us to the local discotheque. Unfortunately after we paid the 10 dollar cover, we walked down 2 flights of stairs to find ourselves awkward and completely alone in the middle of the dance floor.

It was already 11:45 PM, but luckily we spent just long enough deciding to leave to reach the point at about 12:30 where suddenly the entire place was crammed. According to my new, somewhat shady, ecuadorian friend Horatio, the place, BLUES, doesn't actually get going until 3-4 AM when the other discotheques closed, and, itself, didn't close until 9 or 10 in the morning.

It was a pretty silly little time.

This picture should be in the latter post but i screwed up the uploading
t to

The Flight


I am on a Spanish keyboard and have only 10 minutes so things might look weird.

None of the flights were terribley long, one was delayed but only a few minutes.

Mostly I sat next to pretty weird people on the plane.
The two next to me spent most of their time analyzing the characters in the ads and suppling voices to insane dialogues that the images generated within their heads.

Lady 1: (We are landing) Here we go, down through the clouds.
L2: What you talking bout! Cant go through no cloud! Clouds are at the top!
L1: (pointing down) what are those?
L2: I don´t know

We flew in the same time as the Futbol team, so basically the scene was that hundreds of ecuadorians were lined up at the airport cheering for us when we arrived.

Breakfast includes THICK cold glasses of Pineapple puree

I will have more consistent internet access by thursday or friday at GAIAS (google it)
I should be able to update more consistently. I got some pretty great pictures and will be able to add them later!

Friday, May 16, 2008

ट्रैक दोवं अनद्य

गोइंग टू एचुँदोर टुमॉरो। टाइम टू लॉन्च एम्पिरे