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Viva Ecuador! Where to From Here?

Cotopaxi from a hotel window, Quito, Ecuador

Image by lumierefl via Flickr

Having traveled to Ecuador in the past month, I realize I haven’t written anything here because I came home sick with a Sinus infection.

I want to record here my thoughts about my trip.

The best thing about Ecuador was the hospitality of Maria and Edwin, Cecilia’s family. That Ecuador is directly in the Andes Mountains, and the plane landed within the City of Quito, in the Andes, between two Volcanos , seems like quite the miracle. I can’t name them now without checking my travel book, but one is Cotopaxi.

Ecuador was so much like Indonesia, only calmer. It is a poor country, with some beautiful scenery, lovely people, modern architecture and green spaces and large dense population centers where poor people live in polluted conditions.

Downtown Quito, the Center, is a beautiful, authentic Old Town on the Registry of Historic Places in South America! It is Outstanding! I loved the lively heart of this downtown, it was always filled with people. Once I saw a Mariachee Band playing.

The architecture was well-maintained, and lighted at night.

I was fascinated also by a huge statue of the Virgin Mary, like an Angel on a hilltop overlooking the city.

Snack food was a highlight and easy to find. The evening meal was largely coffee and a bread, or snack.  The main meal is at lunch. This took some getting used to, but good for my weight, especially as I necessarily walked down the Quito hills every day to get into the flat downtown where the buses  and taxis run.

It was possible to call a taxi, but occasionally, they didn’t come up the hill to the apartment. Maria’s apartment is in the South of Quito which Cecilia says is a poorer area, where foreigners seldom come. It has a bad reputation, though I didn’t find anything objectionable about it.

It seemed very pleasant and natural, and one day a herd of Llama walked down the cobble stone street right past Maria’s door, another day, a herd of burros. Very cool and exotic! Dogs on the streets have a life of their own, walking out onto the streets to greet each other and touch noses.

Everywhere we traveled, I would see Burros waiting; waiting with their saddles on, just standing there, waiting for their owners to come and ride them away.

One special trip was a six-hour bus trip to the Coastal town of TonSupa which took us to sea level down from the mountains 9000 feet. It was hot and sunny and the ocean was warm. We traveled through the Rain Forest, and a Cloud Forest, through plantations of Dole Pineapple, Palm oil, coca. The poverty of these areas where the plantations were located was astounding. Something isn’t right, the benefits are not reaching the common people!

I was surprised to find American Dollars used here, and that the cost of living is very low. Maria’s four bedroom apartment is gorgeous and costs $120 per month.  The only real difference would be that there is no hot water for showering. Another thing that is common throughout all of Ecuador is that it isn’t possible to flush paper down any toilet regardless of whether it is public or private. There are containers in the bathrooms, and it is understood that you throw the papers in there.

I really didn’t have a great deal of Culture shock in Ecuador, since it was so similar to Indonesia. I got to use my Spanish which I had learned 40 years ago in High School! I was thrilled that by the end of the week I could put together five word sentences! I really want to keep up my language skills, or build on them..but I find myself forgetting Arabic words, and just resorting to Indonesian..then forgetting which language is which.

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One Response

  1. Hi Mary, I enjoy your story. I can imagine Ecuador because you said it’s like Indonesia.

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