Blue Footed Boobies? Sort of. Red ones, too (they’re sea birds). Sleeping with turtles. Watching albatross launch themselves from a cliff above the sea. Dodging dragons on the island paths. Stopped at the Ortavalo Market outside Quito on the way from the upper Amazon basin to the Galapagos Islands. The market dates back before Inca times and has been in operation continually. Lots of bright stuff. Lots of junk. Lots of cool handcrafts, too. Leather stuff at nearby Cotapaxi was stunning. From Quito to San Christobal in a small plane… then aboard the Letty–an 83-foot vessel with a 24-foot beam and nice accommodations. Twenty guests; two guides and busy crew. Random introductions… a professor from Laramie and his wife, genetic research scientists from San Francisco, a Colorado land planner with his wife and others. First evening: snorkeling with a pride (? – pod?) of sea lions. Tramping along islands with billions of birds. Two nights later, camping overnight with big (and I do mean BIG) sea turtles after hiking up a mountain (well, a pretty big hill). Is it possible to take a billion photos? Yep. Got three good ones, too. Tried to get close-ups of every finch beak. Communed with Charles Darwin’s ghost. Mentioned to him that three of the candidates for the Republican nomination for President don’t believe in evolution. Darwin smiled. No phones, no TVs, no radios, no newspapers, no web. Sea kayaking with dolphins. Paddling up inlets and dodging bird droppings. Long conversations. Relaxed evenings. Overnight sailing from island to island. Heaven. Random Notes
- Cable-Tec Expo: Next week in Orlando, as soon as I land from Quito I head for Florida and a who’s who opening CEO panel for the show where stuff actually works when it hits the field and gets installed (well, most of the time). This year, following opening remarks from the NCTA’s Kyle McSlarrow, I get to grill a couple of cable operators–Bob Miron and Pat Esser–followed by a manufacturer, Dan Moloney, and a programmer, the hi-def David Zaslav. Really covers the waterfront. Be there.
- Speaking of Hi-Def: Are you thinking about the Olympics yet? You should be… now that the industry has discovered how to dynamically manage bandwidth (you have, haven’t you?), get ready for a package of five (5!?!) super hi-def channels live in prime time from Beijing from NBC Universal. Redefining, again, live sports coverage when too much is going on.
- Cool Tech: Cool stuff for the America’s Cup race this year… but Oracle should ante up big time for advertising on Versus after losing to Italy. Still, if you like sailboat racing (an understatement about what these guys do), watch the Cup races on Versus and check out http://www.americascupanywhere.com/us/lsi/?affilie=58. For about $60 bucks you can watch the races live with 3D animation and GPS-coded coverage. Putting GPS on the boats makes for better understanding of the races as they happen… the commentators on Versus have access, so just watch and hope that Ellison can afford another challenge. No USA boat this year!