I loved Ecuador, I really did. It’s an amazing country with much to offer. It’s beautiful landscape makes for a huge playground for adventure activities, most of the locals were extremely kind, the history is impressive and the culture unique, but I struggled a bit in Ecuador. I spent weeks with weak, disease-stricken travelers, found myself under constant rain clouds and watched people get scammed repeatedly. I always felt a day late and a dollar short. I blame timing and I so I listened to the travel gods and decided it was time to go. Instead of sticking around and fighting the universe I planned on an excruciating 25 hour bus ride back north. I missed Colombia anyway.
But with anything bad there’s always something good so here is look back on a few of my favorite quirks:
First of all, always remember, safety third!
For whatever reason I became very aware of the number of children left behind the wheels of running vehicles. Not and Ecuadorian thing per se but slightly disturbing how frequent and accepted this was.
Trash is a matter of child’s play too. Goofy clown trash cans are the norm and garbage trucks loudly played the same music you would expect from an ice cream truck. Can you even imagine my disappointment when I would realize I was chasing a rolling dumpster?!
The buses are all well decorated and well organized. I applaud the attention to detail. The one thing I couldn’t wrap my head around was having to sign my name on a list that inconsistently made it’s way around some of the buses some of the time. Naturally, I started taking to signing as celebrities…like Donald Trump. My guess is no one ever noticed.
In Otavalo, construction started at 11…PM! Nothing like being cozy in bed, eyes falling in sync with a booking dropping from your hands only to be jarred back to life with the piercing pulse of a bulldozer backing up. Construction in the dark? Sure that sounds safe. Maybe the city thought it was the best way to avoid traffic. Who know? The nights also proved ideal for cleaning up the well manicured park. I mean trimming tall palm trees under the glow of a flashlight while branches slam down on electrical wires below seems obvious to me.
This happened a bunch of times… Bathrooms on lockdown.
As if Ecuador was waiting for my departure, I was given an excellent send off at the bus station by a kind man who owned a bookstand. Elroy and I became instantaneous best friends. I even watched his kiosk for him while he took his son home. Why not? I don’t speak Spanish and can’t help him sell his books but I’m a trust worthy complete stranger, right? He compensated me with a bottle of water and a small stuffed Winnie the Pooh knock off. I could have been any gringo, he was just excited to practice his English. I had an hour to kill and was more than happy to hang out with my new smiling friend. I learned a lot from Elory’s limited English like how many children he has, where he comes from, where he’s going and that that the Apocalypse will happen in Chicago very soon, the bible says so. You’ve been warned.
Thanks for everything Elroy. Adios Ecuador. It’s been real.