Entries Tagged as "Travel"

Type in The Galapagos

I just took a trip of a lifetime and I travel extensively so that’s saying a lot—seven days in the Galapagos onboard a National Geographic/Lindblad ship.

I travelled with another ESTJ, an ENFP, an ENTJ, and an ENFJ.  We all had a lot to say about our experiences, and we did!!  We were in a magical place. We had a wonderful time enjoying each other’s company and respecting each other’s needs for some quiet down time.  We are all in the second half of our lives, embracing our introverted sides.

We focused on our Sensing sides with small details about the differences of the birds, iguanas and turtles on different islands.  The broader issues of the effects of global warming and trying to grasp the essence of the area called upon our Intuitive sides.

Please indulge my Sensing side for a bit while I check out yours with some details.  Probably everyone has heard of the place—600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean.  And you might know that three ocean currents converge there bringing together an unusual assortment of wildlife.

And probably everyone has seen pictures of its animal inhabitants and knows they are not fearful of people.  It was so strange to walk up to a bird and not have it fly away, and in fact, watch it try to get closer at times.  There was one particularly determined bird trying to pluck one hiker’s gray hair for her nest.

And probably everyone knows about Charles Darwin’s observation of how the finches were different depending on the island they lived on, which led him to the theory of natural selection.  Did you also know why Darwin wanted to be on shore while his ship, the HMS Beagle, went in search of water?  In addition to being a curious person, he also suffered horrible seasickness!

We were very impressed with the management of the Galapagos. Yes, Sensing and Judging were needed by all.  Luckily all of the rules made logical (T) sense – stay 6 feet from the wildlife (although they didn’t always stay 6 feet away from us – there was a tortoise so fascinated by a woman’s pink tennis shoes that he began “stalking” her! Our presence is not supposed to interfere with their lives so no engaging with the animals.  You had to hold yourself back from “baby talk” with those super cute baby sea lions.

The rules go on… Travel only with a Galapagos national park guide in groups of 16 or less.  Land on an island in only designated times (we often had 8-10 am slots) and only in designated areas, staying on the marked paths with your guide.  That was tough for some of the passengers who were clearly used to wandering off on their own. This is not a time to use your Perceiving side to explore something else.  Areas are often off-limits so as to minimize the environmental damage any visitor causes.

And the pay-off for following the rules: seeing things you will never see anywhere else!  One 40-minute snorkeling session included swimming with birds (penguins), reptiles (turtles and iguanas), mammals (sea lions), and multiple kinds of fish.

We got to see blue-footed boobies doing a courtship dance and, at another time, dive bombing for food in the ocean. (Boobies are beloved birds with blue feet in case you were wondering.) We saw different kinds of both land and sea tortoises (after which the island area is named) and different kinds of iguanas (they have the only sea-going iguanas in the world).

It was a challenge to kick our internet habits – we were either out of range or had very slow connections.  I visited a school on one of the islands; they pay $1400/month for 3 megabytes of data.  Students have to surrender their cell phones and forgo YouTube.
The islands include active and inactive volcanos.  One night in 1954 an area simply rose about 15 feet (uplifted is the technical term) due to volcanic activity.  Geologists love the Galapagos, too!

And yes, climate change is impacting the area.  Currents are getting warmer which will drive away some of the wildlife.

And human impact on the area is resulting in feral cats, feral goats, and blackberries, among other things.  There are programs to eradicate these invaders.  Some turtle populations have disappeared on a few islands, so there are programs to bring them back.

All of us, but particularly the two ESTJs, were concerned with the efficiency of the operation.  Many ships in the area are smaller but we chose a larger one because it was a good compromise for various individual needs.  How were they going to get 95 of us off the ship, on to zodiacs, and on the island.  It was wonderful to watch!  We lined up with our life jackets on, the cruise manager counted us off (including any groups), the crew gave us a hand on and off the zodiac (wet landings can be tricky), and the guides miraculously spaced us out on land.

We were awakened each morning with the most wonderful voice saying, “Good morning, good morning.”  Our cruise director would frame everything in a positive way, even the early morning wake-up times.

The food crew were similarly efficient.  One of our travelers had allergy issues, and the waiters always found her with dishes made to accommodate, no matter where she was sitting.  The attention to detail was incredible! And the kindness of the crew was so appreciated. 

I had heard wonderful things about the Galapagos, and they are true. Visit if you possibly can, no matter what your type.

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Memorials/Denkmals that work

I’ve recently had the pleasure of traveling with a group of international friends (an Australian couple, INTJ & ESTJ; a Dutch woman ENTJ; and a German ESTJ with an ESFP British wife – the Brexit discussion was lively); plus my American sweetie ENFP and me, an ESTJ.  Yes, we had some diversity! 

In Berlin, we went to a number of memorials (called Denkmal – denk means think and mal means time in German) and then we compared our reactions.

A very effective memorial for all of us was the Reichstag, now also functioning as the Capitol. When its burnt shell was captured by the Russians in 1945, many soldiers wrote their names and messages in Russian on the walls.  A recent renovation uncovered those and a guide tracked down as many of the soldiers as possible and wrote a book about their lives. 

The French contributed a memorial to democracy in that building.  They looked for what made each elected Member of Parliament equal, and it was the rectangular mailbox!  They recreated hundreds of those mailboxes stacking them up like in a post office and inscribed each with the name of a democratically elected Member of Parliament up to the year 1938.  That included Hitler and Goebbels by the way!  Their particular mailboxes are often punched in by those visiting the memorial. 

The dome of the building has been resurrected in glass and offers stunning views of Berlin and a history lesson as you walk up.  You are reminded of the past and how some things must never happen again and how others need to happen again and again. 

From the dome, you could see in the distance the Holocaust memorial that looked like a Jewish cemetery with its irregular stones of varying heights.  However, upon actually visiting that memorial…well it was disappointing for all of us.  

It is made up of granite, casket-sized and shaped rectangles of varying heights, arrayed in a pattern reminiscent of farmer’s fields. While there are small signs saying not to run as you walk between the structures or to climb on them, many people ignored that. It became a playground for so many – the antithesis of the events it is there to memorialize. 

Our group had many ideas of how to change it, such as surround the area with glass walls topped by depictions of barbed wire with only a few entry points.  The names of the concentration camps could be etched in the glass along with the numbers of people who perished in each.  The reverent and somber mood was not there and it should have been!

We also went to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.  The entry to the museum is quite confusing unless one stops to really pay attention.  You begin by walking down stairs to a central hallway with three angled halls going off from it.  Each angled hall represents a thread of Jewish experience – continuity, diaspora, or the holocaust. The only one of us who fully appreciated it was the ENTJ, in part because she was so well steeped in history and the facts, and in part because she quickly understands symbolism.   She could draw upon both her Intuition and her Sensing. The rest of us missed it.

And we went to the Berlin Wall Memorial.  That one worked for all of us.  This Denkmal was blocks long at a place in the city where the actual border cut across an apartment building, a church and a cemetery plus gardens and streets.  The stories of each and of the wall were laid out in storyboards along with videos and interviews with people who lived it.  The names of those who had died while crossing were also included.  Very powerful.  Even though there were large grassy fields that one could play on, no one did.  It was clearly recognized as a memorial and treated as such.

For all of us, the memorials that worked created a mood of reverence, the opportunity to go in-depth and learn more intellectually about the events and simply to experience the pull of raw emotions.  

Have you experienced a memorial that worked for you? Why?



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At the Olympics in Rio!

If you follow any international news or sports, you're following the Rio Olympics. Here is this American ESTJ's perspective.
Before I arrived, I was reading newscasts about mosquitoes, robberies, protestors, impeachment, etc.  Here I find very little evidence of any of that. 

I did happen to spot some broken window panes in the Rio de Janeiro Parliament building.  This building was the home of the national Capitol until it moved to Brasilia in 1960.
I asked our student guide if the broken windows were from Olympic protestors.  He said that in a way they were.  He has not been able to attend classes for the last four months because his university is shut down.  Why?  The professors and staff have not been paid and are on strike.  The protests were about money going to the Olympic Games, instead of education or other needed social services, let alone infrastructure to clean up the water.
And the games go on.  There are hordes of people excited about the Olympics.  There are also lots of armed soldiers near every major venue and gathering point.  

Subways and trains are packed, not only with the locals but also with people from all over the world.  You hear lots of languages.  People are friendly and helpful, even those not wearing the bright yellow jackets signifying them as helpers. They are calling out directions to trains to the venues in both Portuguese and English.

Security lines to get into the venues seem to be running smoothly now.  We're lucky to be in the preferential lines due to our age of over 65.  Museums also often give free membership to those my age, and half price to those 62-64.
Attending an Athletics (Track and Field) session is like watching a three ring circus.  There are usually several events going on at the same time - pole vaulting, running, discus, and shotput can all be happening simultaneously.
And depending on where you are sitting you either see the competitors looking the size of an ant or you can see a real person!  If you're up high, watching a long race while the runners spread out, they look like a snake.  And in the steeplechase when they jump over hurdles, they look like a snake going over a lump.  No, those were not my images; they came from my Intuitive friends.

Etiquette at a track meet is interesting.  The Brazilians have gotten so excited over their athletes that they cheer loudly even at the moment when the starter needs to shoot the gun.  No one can hear, so now there are calls from all over the stadium for silence.
And so as not to block the view of others behind you, you are supposed to stay in your seat and not stand up and cheer for your favorite athlete.  The one time that is not followed is when Usain Bolt (the fastest man on earth!) appears; all sorts of people are there who do not usually go to track, so everyone stands up with excitement because they these folks don’t know track etiquette.

No "booing" is supposed to occur since we are honoring the achievements of every athlete around the world.  However, that rule has been broken several times, which really does tarnish the games. 

The medal ceremony is the one time when all eyes focus on one place and everyone stands for national anthem of the gold medalist’s country.  That is a really good feeling!

This is an exciting time to be in Rio and to be a citizen of the world.


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