Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Frogs and Frigate Birds: Over The Hill Goes to Ecuador and the Galapagos by Jo Carroll

Three years ago, during a chance encounter in Cuba, I was asked why I'd never been to Ecuador. I mumbled, for I could think of no good reason. And so thought I'd better find out more for myself. But I had no idea what an astonishing country it is, with its mountains and beaches and Inca treasures. And poisonous frogs!

Every January while we are shivering in the UK Jo Carroll packs her rucksack and goes on holiday.
You won't see her sunbathing on the beaches of Ibiza or Benidorm but you might see her walking a mountain pass in the Andes or running from a tiger in Nepal.
Jo is one of my heroes. After retiring she has decided to see far flung parts of the world for herself. She is brave and fearless and has loads of energy.
For this trip to Ecuador Jo needed plenty of energy for all the walking she did, most of it at a high altitude where she gasped for air.

Frogs and Frigate Birds is Jo's sixth travel memoir and one I've been looking forward to as part of her visit was to the Galápagos Islands.
For a good part of her trip Jo hires private guides who drive her to where she wants to visit while giving her information about her surroundings. She likes to do this as it keeps local people in jobs but when one guide constantly points out roses growing for export even she gets a little irritated.
For some trips Jo has to join groups of people especially on the trip to the Islands where tourism is strictly controlled to protect the ecosystems. These trips provide us with much of the humor in the book as we hear about the differences between her fellow travellers.

Jo's writing is such that I feel I'm walking behind in her footsteps and observing huge spiders, blue bellied frogs, iguanas and humming birds as she walks through the rainforest.
I felt the darkness at night when the group switched of their torches to enable them to experience the true environment. 
I sense through reading all her books that Jo is at her happiest exploring by herself. She doesn't mind getting lost as she knows she'll soon turn a corner and find her way again. She loves visiting museums and heritage centres to get a sense of the history of the country she's in, then sitting outside a cafe having coffee and meeting and speaking to the locals is an end to a perfect day for her.
This book is quite a quick read so I'm not going to tell you about the cities and villages she visited or what she saw and done on Galápagos I would rather you found that out on your own. I'm just here to tell you that this book is well worth a read.

If you have never read any of Jo's six books then you are in for a treat.

The first one was
Over The Hill and Far Away : One Grown Up Gap Year.
Hidden Tiger Raging Mountain: Over The Hill in Nepal
Bombs and Butterflies: Over The Hill in Laos
Vultures Overhead: Over The Hill in Cuba
After The Earthquake: Over The Hill Goes Back to Nepal.
Frogs and Frigate Birds:Over The Hill Goes to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
You can find them all here.
All are cheaper than a fancy coffee and will last longer.

1 comment:

  1. A million thanks, Anne - so glad you enjoyed it.


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