Here we go again! We’re back in South America to talk about ECUADOR!
After 2 weeks of exploring and taking in Ecuador, I think I am getting a pretty good sense of the typical Ecuadorian (in the Central region anyway….I did not make it to the Oriente, or to the coast). Obviously, as with any stereotype, these are drastic generalizations, so please don’t take them too seriously. (I don’t like offending people.)
- Ecuadorians are very short. At 5’4”, I felt tall for the first time in my life in this country. Many of the women would be wearing 3-5” heels and I still towered over them. And many of the Quechua men and women had to be less than 4” tall.
- Ecuadorians love to make copies. Seriously in every city we went to, big or small, Copias (copy) stores were EVERYWHERE…sometimes with more than 1 on a street. I’m not sure what everyone is copying, but those machines are definitely in hot demand.
- Ecuadorians are not as into Coca tea as other South American countries. They sell it at every supermarket, and when you’re up in higher altitude, but most restaurants and cafes do not offer it.
- There are seriously as many stray dogs in Ecuador as there are people. Many of them are ridiculously cute, and living in really depressing conditions. (I really wanted to take this one adorable puppy home with me.)
- Ecuadorians, like Peruvians, do not wear sunglasses. There are sunglass stores EVERYWHERE, and people seem to always be selling sunglasses on the street, but nobody wears them.
- Ecuadorians are not big fans of spice. Seriously, foods are very simple and very bland. I bought a bottle of hot sauce less than 2 weeks ago and it’s almost empty.
- Bus travel in Ecuador is disproportionately inexpensive compared to the cost of everything else. You can take an 8-hour bus across the country for $7. That said, buses here are not as nice as in other South American countries, and most do not have bathrooms.
- If you are traveling by bus, you will rarely have to look at a schedule and book your ticket ahead of time. The bus system in Ecuador is very extensive, and buses run on major routes every 5-15 minutes. You also can get off and get on anywhere along the route. I was dropped off on the side of the road when going to the Cotopaxi region, and picked up a bus heading back from Cajas National Park the same way right along the highway.
- Ecuadorians have crazy strong cell phone reception. I was trekking on the top of a crater lake, in the middle of nowhere at 4,100+ meters, and our guide was receiving (and making) phone calls. It’s crazy.
- Ecuadorians really like candles. Every table in every restaurant has a long, tapered candle on it. People use candles to pray. It is all very romantic.
- Ecuadorians are not big fans of Peruvians. There is a long history of conflict between the 2 countries, and they are still fighting over land. They are also not big fans of Chile, though I never figured out why.
- In larger Ecuadorian cities, there are stores where you can buy cheap rip-off DVDs on nearly every street. Many of the movies haven’t even been released in theaters yet, or are currently in theaters and not yet available on DVD. Chris had a field day….
- Ecuadorians are very set in their ways. The more old-school people think that Ecuadorian cities and people are becoming too modern. The modern people think that a lot of the tradition is too dated and is holding them back. And all Ecuadorians think that the region they live in is the best region in the country, and that all other regions aren’t worth your time.
- Ecuadorians love fruit. In buses, at corner stands, in markets and stores; fresh fruit, smoothies and jugos (juices) are everywhere!
- Ecuadorians LOVE ice cream. Postres (desserts) are literally on almost every menu. Ice cream trucks and stands are on almost every corner. And for the corners without official stands, women and children sell ice cream on the street in cones, scooping it from giant blobs on their laps or heads.
- Ecuadorian children (ages 0-7) are the cutest children ever. They all have this dark, perfect complexion and big, almond shaped eyes; I just wanted to take all of them home with me. (Seriously, I want to start an exchange program where you can borrow children for short periods of time… :)).
- Every Ecuadorian street is named after a famous Ecuadorian. This makes getting around a little difficult, as you have to use both the first name and last name of the street you’re looking for, since many of the last names overlap.
- Every Ecuadorian car, even those that are barely working and should be in a junkyard, has a car alarm. And these aren’t your state-of-the-art car alarms; they’re the ones that go off if a rat runs beneath it, a dog pisses on it, or you are within 5 feet of the car’s exterior. That said, the streets are quite noisy with the alarms constantly going off. (There were a few in particular I was ready to break).
- Ecuadorians love the US. They use US currency, wear US clothes, and graciously welcome Americans to their country. (Just never say you’re from America…so are they.)
- As with most of my lists, I’m sure this one will keep on growing. But hopefully it gives you a pretty good sense of an average Ecuadorian guy or girl.
So in love with this place!
Jokes about Ecuadorians