We next walked down the paved road toward the headquarters of the PNG. (The interesting entrance ticket is on the left; click on the photo to see a larger version and use you browser’s “back” button to return to this page). The PNG also celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009. (Exactly 100 years after the publication of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, 1959 was clearly a banner year for conservation in the Galápagos Islands.) Lots of t-shirt and hat choices again. One of the things I liked best about both the CDF and the PNG shops was the fact that purchases made there directly supported these organizations’ conservation efforts on the islands. If you’re going to spend money, might as well make it serve double-duty.
Z and I then wandered back through town along this road, primarily window-shopping. I was especially drawn to the logo of Galápagos Jewelry (right). (It was a lovely store, but my taste rather out-stripped my wallet. They did have some nice and reasonably priced items in sterling silver, but I generally zero in on gold. Alas.) We passed an area where fishermen were cleaning their catches for the day; Brown Pelicans and Galápagos sea lions were hanging out like the family dogs waiting at the dinner table for scraps.
One thing I always find interesting in new areas is grocery stores, so we went into a large one opposite the pier. The most fascinating finding for me? Six different flavors of Tang:
- piña (pineapple),
- naranjilla—the name means “little orange,” but it’s delicious fruit with green flesh and juice and of the nightshade (e.g., tomato) family,
- mora (blackberry—a fiercely invasive, but delicious, species),
- naranja (orange),
- fresa (strawberry), and
- mandarina (tangerine).
I’m not sure why that struck me as so intriguing—perhaps something about the familiar juxtaposed with the foreign. Z bought 3 bottles of Snob brand (how grand is that name?) salsa aji (chili hot sauce) made from tomates de arbol (tree tomatoes)—an egg-shaped fruit that can also be blended with water and sugar for a refreshing juice (which we had once on the boat—delicious!) and another member of the nightshade family, as are tomatoes and eggplants.
We strolled back to the pier (below) to await the pangas. The rest of the group meandered in and folks checked out each other’s purchases. Personally, I was glad our afternoon in civilization was over. I was ready to lose the crowds and get back to the wildlife. Tomorrow—giant prickly pear cactus and the elusive Santa Fé Land Iguana.
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