Four months have passed and not much at all has changed in Galapagos, except the curfew has been lifted and the eerie nightly loudhailers have stopped. There’s been some placard waiving by people who want the government to bail them out of their debts, but the public entities are nearly as broke as the private ones. Others have double mortgaged their homes to try and save their businesses, like everywhere else around the world. Many people have created small home industries to pull in a few dollars, in my case producing popular home-made marmalade — I’ve made a whopping $400 in 2 ½ months!
Covid cases have remained remarkably low and under control, with outbreaks generally limited to small family clusters. Most have recovered and the active cases are doing OK. A few regular flights were scheduled in late July, as Galapagos was reopened to tourism. Now we have three flights a week and over 350 tourists have been logged thus far, most of them from mainland Ecuador. But for the islanders days continue to blend into weeks and then months, and soon 2020 will be gone, with the financial worries growing exponentially while the future remains blank. Many people, including myself, are experiencing attention deficit for the first time in their lives. Every time I try to concentrate on something my mind is pulled away towards that yawning blank that is the future; everything I do can only revolve around the here-and-now. I feel like we’re all acting dead for fear of dying… That, to me, doesn’t make any sense at all.
I’ve rescued a sweet old cat who spent six years fending for himself in the bush (catching mice in a farmyard chicken coop) and a little dog from solitary confinement (in a dark, tick-infested shed). The dog, Tilgo (named after my favorite penguin island in Chile), is afraid of the cat, Ruru (named so because it’s what he says to me), who is afraid of rats and mockingbirds. We make a good family, living out our days in the happy company of finches and lava lizards.
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