Musings

Panga

As far as I can recall, I never rode in a panga (by any name) before our trip last month to the Galápagos. Already, I miss those days! This was a penguin-watching expedition…oh, with pelicans and, what was it?…frigate birds…whatever. Note the volcanic cone in the background.

Panga in my Apple-dictionary (very fruity) is a large African machete-knife. I think “panga” is used widely in Latin American, at least on the west coast, for this kind of inflated boat. The Apple-world needs to self-update. IMHO 😎

Renaming ahead?

Another glorious sunrise.

Clockwise: husband coffee, wife coffee, husband batman oreos. Actual breakfast followed.

Commonly described as resembling a “Chinese coolie” hat, feast your eyes on Sombrero Chino, the destination of our immediately-after-breakfast walk. [When will this island be renamed for PC reasons?]

It began with a panga tour along a section of the lava-liscious coast, searching for wildlife.

Aha! Close view of a Galápagos hawk. Truly special to see it like this.

Wet landing, then part of the walk was on coral bits. This is the first time we’ve seen concentrations of coral like this.

Lava flow, cooled in place on its gravity-fed descent.

Water meets lava.

We spent some time watching the land iguanas emerging from this space between rocks where they had huddled together for warmth through the night (it was still early). They would stop almost immediately, perhaps doing internal iguana-yawns. Here are two adults and two young.

Back aboard we had lunch followed by our check-out briefing. Sad to contemplate the end of our fabulous excursion in the eastern Galápagos, the part with the older islands—older geologically, so more soil development in general, enabling more diverse plant life.

Afternoon dry landing on Cerro Dragón. This beach had teeny shells and sea urchin spines. Those are the fat tubes in Gustavo-the-Guide’s hand. He said his father and his contemporaries used those spine chunks on slate in school, and thus the common name is pencil sea urchin.

The tide was out a bit, exposing a sandy area with many hermit crabs, mostly not seen. They did leave evidence, not only their burrows, but also these sand balls. They take in the sand, filter all the organic matter that’s in it, then spit out the sand in these little balls.

Sleeping/resting dragon.

Brackish pond.

Stilt? Already forgot.

It took Gustavo’s sharp and well-trained eyes to spot this katydid, right by the trail.

Mature male land iguana. “Doing what they do best,” as Gustavo said.

Mature male iguana in “our” trail. Burrow nearby. Linear patterns in the sand are tail drag marks.

Finch.

View to sea.

Bartender Javier’s preparations are underway for the goodbye meet-up and toasts with the crew. Scarlett the Cruise Director once again went along the crew line-up, detailing their responsibilities and names. [This also helped us with tipping before we disembarked.] Several of us short-timers made a little speech of thanks. I did one in Spanish on behalf of all of us; my Spanish, although still stilted, has come back relatively rapidly after, what?, perhaps twenty-five years of disuse. Good for my brain.

Best tomato soup I’ve ever had. I am not a Campbell’s fan. This has no cream, and includes potatoes. The crew kindly used Google translate to make and print a recipe for several interested guests. The first ingredient was a certain amount of “dad.” Someone among us was clever enough to realize this was a translation of “papa.” While, of course, not an incorrect translation, it was the wrong one here. Papa means papa/dad, the Pope (as in Father), as well as potatoes.

Alliterative Apiaceae

Late this afternoon we had a storm cell/line come through and when it was in the final dripping stages, I snapped this of an upper section of the fennel forest out front. I like that: fennel forest.

Not my type

I know of one bed of this plant (although my identification skills are abysmal) in our neighborhood, and I don’t remember this plant from elsewhere [really, why would I?]. My magic identification app suggests this is Houttuynia cordata, which is native to greater Southeast Asia. The app indicates the Chinese name translates as “fishy-smelling herb” and the Japanese name literally translates as “poison blocking plant.” These are far more…entertaining…than “the plant that spreads rapidly and keeps a slope from eroding,” which might be a colloquial name chosen by observers of this bed.

Parse details carefully, repeat

For a short while, after visiting the UN when I was about ten, I thought I wanted to be a simultaneous translator. Of course, I only knew one language, and that rather irregularly. The simultaneous translator idea didn’t last long, BTW. Still, I have retained a curiosity about language.

So, an article this week was right up my alley. It’s by Timothy Snyder, in the New York Times, dated April 22nd, and titled, The War in Ukraine Has Unleashed a New Word.

The new word is “рашизм.” And it’s Ukrainian, if you didn’t catch that; written Ukrainian uses Cyrillic letters, like Russian, but it’s not Russian (duh). Roughly, рашизм translates as “Russian fascism.” The article is about how much that translation skips all the cleverness folded into the actual word. Lesson: plenty is missed in translation.

First, рашизм’s seriously multi-lingual, including English. So clever, so complicated. Go to the article (apologies: paywall) and learn all the intricacies.

One thing I didn’t know, while English refers to Russian and Rus (red), etc., with the vowel u, in Ukranian and Russian the vowel is o. I had no idea (why would I, actually?). (And it’s more than o, actually, as Russians pronounce it like an a. Surprise.)

And now, we have handy pocket translators, good for a giant assortment of languages. I have not checked what mine makes of the Ukrainian рашизм.

Re-reading

Shaftoflight

Typically when I name photos for this space, I use an underline (_) between words. For some reason, I didn’t today. I intended “shaft of light,” but I read “shaft o’ flight.”

Truth

We just started a new international television series. It’s called Pera Palas’ta Gece Yarısı, or Midnight at the Pera Palace. For enquiring minds: the Pera Palace is a real hotel that had its grand opening in 1895.

Turns out that just like Finnish and Swedish, we can’t understand Turkish merely by listening to it.

Doldrums

Today’s new vocab: dunkelflaute. However, this is a pink dogwood. Most are white; I recall reading some years ago that the dogwoods are susceptible to a virus and the breeders haven’t come up with a resistant pink dogwood. It seems like that still may be true as there are fewer and fewer pink dogwoods in our neighborhood. And none are young trees. [I admit that’s a very local, spatially biased observation.]

Oh: dunkelflaute (German). It’s usually translated as dark doldrums, or meteorologically: anticyclonic gloom. It’s when renewable energy can’t be generated (e.g., overcast days for solar panels, or still days for wind turbines).

Blue bells are belles

Repeated patterns can be mesmerizing. Especially if blue or purple colors are involved IMHO.

Charting a thaw

This pile is so large because it was from a cleaned parking lot. It’s snow snow snow, nevertheless.

Small ponds still had ice in the centers, but larger bodies of water, like this: open water.

Yes, we did another latitude shift north today. And experienced graupel twice, hours apart. [Graupel is not in the Apple dictionary; it suggests grapple—not the same at all.]