|See the Condor?|
|See the Ecuador flag and "love life" motif|
Very endearing and insightful stuff. It truly was a task getting up the ramp onto the ship, especially for the ladies of the party who wore stylish sandals instead of gripping soled shoes. The sailors stood at the top to take our hands and assist us aboard.
It is interesting that they warn you in advance that the tour is only for the external vessel, because within minutes of getting our bearings on deck, Jhonny had sweet-talked our group of 5 (including 3 Ecuadorians) into a private tour of the vessel's interior.
You can't really use words to describe the majesty of these ships. They are so complex and ornate, and they travel the ocean, which is so mysteriously frightening to me with it's unknown depths and unpredictable temper. This ship in particular symbolized national pride as well as hope -- for I saw in all those sailors the hope for a career that was worthy of a little boasting and yielding in some adventure. Many of them were equivalent to what we know as Midshipmen at the US Naval Academy, studying and preparing to become officers.
Our "tour guide" spoke mostly to Jhonny and his brother in Spanish, and they would occasionally explain to us "gringas" what we were seeing. I couldn't help but compare their experience with my dad's young adulthood as a US Navy enlisted, submariner. I don't know all the lingo, but I know the challenges of military dependency, and I possess a deep pride in all military service. The things I saw on this ship were precious to me, and beautiful, because they related to my life and memories, but also because I knew how special it was for the men to see something like this from their home country in their second country.
We were able to see many ornate things, from walls to floors of the interior cabin. Every detail was polished to perfection. My photography is not the most professional, but it does the job.
|Replica of the sword of Simon Bolivar|
One of the most moving areas was the "school room." We saw a couple of students studying, and our "tour guide" for the moment showed us a box where the sailors keep records of their hopes and dreams. They will revisit these at a 25-year reunion. He also shared with us from a photo album containing photos of the 1978 tour.
I glimpsed an interesting sight before we left the school room: an anchor with a crucifix centered on it. What an interesting image.
Thank you to my companions for making this tour happen, and thanks to our tour guide for taking the opportunity to show off a little piece of Ecuadorian pride! Too bad we couldn't stay aboard and head for Ecuador! We'll have to wait until July for that.
|Vamos a Ecuador|