How to Clean Your Tennis Shoes in the Galapagos

January 28, 2010
Discover a quick and unusual method for whitening tennis shoes.

Ecuador and Peru Travel Report # 10 and Visual Viewpoint: Island Lake

Dragon Hill

Our first walk on the Galapagos tour was here on Santa Cruz Island, where we saw flamingos and iguanas and heard finches and mocking birds. They said we should bring “good walking shoes, water, sun block, sunglasses, hat, insect repellent.” I had all those plus my walking sticks. But as we began the hike we had to pass through a place where the tide pulled water across our path and we got our shoes wet. This caused my shoes to collect brown dust and by the end of the afternoon my shoes, which had looked so nice when I started out, and which had to last me for three more weeks, were brown.

Oh well, I thought, if I can’t enjoy my vacation because my shoes don’t look fresh, I need to reorder my priorities.

But guess what? By the time we’d gone on another hike, the shoes were clean again, probably better looking than they had been when we began the trip! My theory is that the phosphorous from the guana left by the iguanas and birds were absorbed by my shoes and acted like a strong laundry detergent. My shoes still look relatively good despite the fact I wore them every day.

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