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Why Did I Go to Ecuador?

Plaza Independencia in Quito

Plaza de la Independencia in Quito

A reasonable question, one that I have been asked frequently by people who know me. My answers will probably tell you a whole lot more about me than about Ecuador:

  1. I am drawn to South America because it is at one and the same time strangely different, yet not to the extent that I would feel totally at sea. And it has been so neglected by North Americans.
  2. The Andes are incredible. When my brother and I were lost on a road that was not on our map, we suddenly came upon the volcano Chimborazo, which was not only striking in its own right, but surrounded by herds of wild vicuñas. It was a magical moment of the type I keep having in Latin America.
  3. You can always find a bench at a beautiful tree-shaded plaza, get a shoe-shine, and do some world class people watching.
  4. It’s so nice to leave Los Angeles during a heat wave and find oneself in the mountains.
  5. South Americans feel so out of the way of “mainstream civilization” that they tend to be friendly and curious. I keep having interesting conversations with locals who know a little English; when they don’t speak English, I just try to carry on with my poor Spanish.
  6. I have a positive loathing of mosquitoes, so I tend to avoid jungles.
  7. It’s fun to spend the months before vacation time reading up on a culture with which one isn’t familiar.
  8. After standing on the zero meridian at Greenwich Observatory in London, I always wanted to stand on the Equator.
  9. Nobody I know knows anything about Ecuador.
  10. Ever since my visits to Mexico in the 1970s and 1980s, I fell in love with Pre-Columbian art in all its variety.

There’s probably half a dozen more reasons I could come up with, but this’ll do for starters.

5 thoughts on “Why Did I Go to Ecuador?

  1. excellent reasons, although not needed. freedom. i spent a year in Chihuahua with an orchestra and enjoyed it very much; after attempting to learn Spanish, including 3 semesters at college, i decided i just couldn’t hear fast enough to understand it… it’s a beautiful, sibilant experience and i wish i could speak it but ces le vie… v. interesting reading about Ecuador… tx…

  2. Glad you enjoyed your trip. As a Caribbean native, I’m not too thrilled about visiting other developing nations. I’m more curious about my opposites, like Europe and Australia. That hasn’t changed even though I live in the US now. So I can understand wanting to get away from the ordinary and the familiar.

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