Galapagos – Isabela Island – Los Tuneles.
We spent a week in the Galapagos Islands Our amiable guide, Fabian, took us around the island Isabela and allowed me to ping him for his thoughts about local politics, consumer culture, and all these gawky, pasty Darwnites who made pilgrimages to his island. Here was a man who grew up on the Galapagos, a reluctant tour-guide with an obvious love for critters and nature (and beer), growing up in a land that came attached with an unconditional mandate to restrict man’s behaviour and here he is making ends meet the only way possible, by leading tourists to intensely beautiful vistas where he explained the issues of invasive species, pollution, and over-fishing, and yet every day returning to his very typical Ecuadorian lifestyle, a town filled with low expectations, familia, siestas, fiestas, football and church… and thus I myself wondered how does he reconcile this? “Yo, Fabian, what do you think of evolution?” And here Fabian gave a slight smile and looked away and somehow in one statement managed to explain evolution better than any textbook. “I think Darwin was a very smart man,” he said. “And I do believe those ideas.” He paused, reached down and grabbed some plants and dirt. “I think it’s true.” He looked at the sky. “Everything is changing.” And for some reason, that blew my mind. And it also made me feel very positive about the Galapagos. Maybe people like Fabian, with their simplified expectations and their “a priori” awareness of evolution and eco stewardship will be the ones who finally fend off consumer culture?