It’s where I started my trip but not where I am ending. I was sad to have only seen Ecuador and Brazil on my first loop around South America, so I meant to make a quick jaunt through Ecuador before heading onward. After many misadventures and delays, I find myself finally setting off two months after I arrived. Like I often do, I linger to check out all the little corners. My last stop was in the coastal city of Machala, not a common stop for your average tourist. However my friend I met in Cuenca lived there and I told her I’d visit. It turned out to be a very cleaned up city regentrifying with lots of parks and green spaces. I’d also been lured in by the promises of the best food in Ecuador, and it truly was great. Whether that was because the city is covered in delicious meats and seafood or because my friend lived there and knew the best places, I will never know.
I stayed a whole month on a farm learning about sustainable practices. I also learned that I’m not very good at living with a bunch of people in the same room for very long. Luckily Ecuador is cheap enough to allow me to travel in my own room like I’ve been doing most of this trip. It also gave me a month’s break from learning Spanish for better or worse. It was a place to rest my weary feet for a while. Unfortunately it was also the start of my bad luck. Turns out getting your credit card number stolen is just the tip of the iceberg and I had two other robbery incidences afterward that relieved me of my wallet, phone and later my iPod. Perhaps I’d gotten lack with my vigilance after 14 months without incident.
That is not to say Ecuador is a bad place, most people are wonderful. There are just a few bad apples that really like taking stuff and even the Ecuadorians are stuck worrying about it. My friend told me most Ecuadorians don’t wear jewelry in public for this reason.
I’ve been fortunate to be around for so many festivals. From the Dia de los Difuntos I was around for last year, still one of my favorites, to the various end of the year or new year festivites, I enjoyed the Ecuadorian sense of celebration.
Ecuador is really a tiny country in the grand scheme of the continent. Yet in this little space there are various types of beaches, mountains, and jungles. Both Ecuador and Peru claim to be the densest concentration of various land types and animals, and there’s only one way for me to be sure. Alas the food is a little less varied, although a little different in each region. It generally involves giant piles of as many types of carbs as they can fit with a little bit of meat and no vegetables.
Not to say there aren’t some weird eats. I didn’t even try the giant grilled grubs in the Amazon.
I’m not quite all too sure where two months went but it was rather enjoyable. Sure, it’s not the most outwardly stunning place but the people are laid-back and friendly. I really think I enjoy lounging around a country like this more than I like lining up at the Machu Picchus of the world constantly. Ecuador is a nice place to be for a while. Next up, southward to Peru!