No bitching when dream trip a bust

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So, my long anticipated trip to the Galapagos in Ecuador didn’t go exactly as, well, anticipated.

What I didn’t expect turned out to be the highlight. What I had expected didn’t pan out.

To be clear, I’m grateful to be able to travel. Lucky too. Travel has enriched my life. I’m fortunate beyond belief.

I started planning my December 2016 trip in October 2015, when I put down a deposit on a seven night scuba dive trip aboard a yacht. A bucket-lister, take-money-out-of-savings kind of trip.

Long story short (for now – I’ll cover in more detail in the coming weeks), the diving was disappointing. I expected schools of hammerheads, sun fish, and marine iguanas. The Galapagos bills itself as the best diving in the world.

What I got was poor visibility (so not much to see) crazy strong currents (strong beyond what I’ve seen described in the marketing material) and laxity, in my opinion, in safe diving best practices.

I also could have done without Avianca failing to put my luggage on the plane on which I was travelling and having to wait two days for it to arrive. Note to self: pack a change of clothes in carry-on.

Still, the trip was marvellous for reasons I didn’t expect. San Cristobal, where I spent a few days before and after boarding the ship, was alive with critters. Sea lions everywhere, barking and being cute, marine iguanas, and grapsus crabs. Finches joined me for breakfast each day – enjoying as much of my meal as I did.

The people of San Cristobal were helpful and wonderful and I loved the food.

There were two other highlights: a shore visit to a tortoise reserve and our zodiac boat (aka panga) being surrounded by dolphins.

I won’t return to the Galapagos as a diver. Perhaps a land-based excursion next time. Because this really is an amazing place.

 

Tank’s Travels boorish traveller award of 2016 goes to….

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The teen beasts of Britannia.

Way to go England.

There’s no escaping these monsters. Rich, privileged British kids. Moaning, whining and eye-rolling in faraway destinations. Suffering the indignities of luxury travel and the shitty lifestyle to which they were born.

Exhibit A

San Cristobal Island, Ecuador. Hotel lounge. I’m seated about 15 feet away.

Teen boy. Looks to be 18 or 19. Bitching loudly about the grade he has received on a university quiz. A grade he has just accessed on his IPad.

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Here’s a sampling of what tumbled out of his foul mouth – barking as loudly as the sea lions nearby. “Fuck. Shit. It’s so much rubbish. Fuck. I worked so hard on this. Why did I only get 63 per cent?”

“Fuck, FUUUUUCK. The [instructor’s] notes said I didn’t reference properly, but I did.”

Of course, he did. Because vulgar, entitled little creeps are always right. Everyone else is stupid and wrong.

Knocks a glass off the table. Breaks it. Waits for a housekeeper to clean it up. No thanks/gracias/merci offered.

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The adult (mom/nanny/tour guide/servant) at the table stares into space.

British prime minister material in future Conservative government? Methinks so.

 

Exhibit B

Avianca flight. Business class. San Cristobal to Guayaquil, Ecuador. I’m many rows back, but close enough to observe and hear.  Plus, took a ‘walk’ during the flight in order to take the pic.

Two teens and their mother. She looks like a British pop star of yesteryear. Or a reality show star of today.

Spectacle begins with the boy. Seventeen or thereabouts. Wears a shirt sporting the logo of a luxury yacht for scuba diving based in the Galapagos. Where a seven-night excursion goes for roughly $5500 USD per person. This family surely isn’t flying on points.

Apparently, his aisle seat in BUSINESS CLASS is unsatisfactory. Refuses to sit down. The boarding process grids to a halt. He won’t get out of the way. Scans the cabin for a different seat. Mother repeatedly orders him to sit. He does, finally. And pouts.

Next, mom gets down to business with two IPhones and an IPad. Draws boxes and writes numbers on the barf bag. Keeps folding and unfolding the bag.

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Later, the teen daughter acts up. Refuses her meal. Then demands it a few minutes later. Once finished, she places her feet on the cabin wall. Right next to a sign – in English – asking passengers to keep their feet off the wall. Lovely.

Mom just keeps scribbling on the barf bag.

The majority of the people I encounter when I travel are well-behaved. The majority I interact with are smart, interesting and funny. I’m fortunate enough to keep in touch with some.

Then, there are the awful ones.

Congratulations to all the contestants for the Tank’s Travel’s boorish traveller of 2016 award.