National Geographic : 1968 Feb
overseer, right. Ponchos ward off the chill of dusk in the highlands of Chimborazo. "Twenty-five dollars... any ache," replied Abraham. We didn't disparage his herbs. Several rein force modern medicine, especially cinchona bark, a source of quinine. We slanted seaward across the Equator to Esmeraldas, following a new highway which had opened the jungle to the banana boom. No place I visited in Ecuador had such high temperature, high prices, and high wages as Esmeraldas. The labor shortage was so acute that a coin-operated laundry, a rarity in Latin America, does big business, and our over crowded hotel was managed by children. The eldest, "Pedro Pulga" (Peter the Flea), was 13. His junior helpers allocated beds with out regard to sex or family. Guillermo was paired with the wife of a European diplomat while I drew the mother-in-law. We all pro tested politely, and the next shuffle dealt me two anthropologists, man and wife. Guests took over the assigning of rooms, throwing the youngsters' bookkeeping into hopeless chaos, for no two beds were priced alike. Growling Contest Rends Galapagos Night Guillermo returned to Quito, and I sailed to Limones by motor dugout in the open sea. Six hundred miles farther out in the Pacific lay the Galapagos Islands, unclaimed until Ecuador annexed them in 1832. Early in my visit, Ecuadorian friends and I had rollicked in the Galapagos surf with herds of wild seals, wonderfully friendly. But I remembered the Galapagos sea lions as less amiable. Swift sundown once caught us near Playas. Dugouts and wading stevedores will speed the day's catch ashore.