ECEcuador

Ecuador

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EcuadorEcuador

Guidebooks Are for the Birds, Part I

According to my Lonely Planet guidebook, Guaranda, Ecuador is “small and uneventful.” The “seven steep hills that have promoted the moniker ‘The Rome of the Andes’” bear no relation the town’s “cultural offerings.” Guaranda may not have unique “cultural offerings” worthy of a time-crunched tourist’s making a special trip here ... read more

Amanda Blewitt

EcuadorEcuador

An American Werewoman in Quito

An attempted coup in Quito yesterday, the last day of September 2010, created turmoil for much of Ecuador but, for me, a day of peace and quiet. Hence, I finally have occasion to write. I arrived in Quito on Tuesday, August 17, via Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami, and Bogotá. Thirty-two other ... read more

Amanda Blewitt

EcuadorEcuador

Santiago, el pasado.... Ecuador, ahora!

Santiago is a HUGE city. Most of the time, I used the metro to get around, which is easier to navigate than NYC system. However, it closes around 1030 11 depending on the station, so you have to take a taxi at night. All the stations are very clean, they ... read more

Emily Bishop

EcuadorEcuador

The Gringa Faces the Fact that She's Undeniably Gringa

Saturday, October 10, 2009 The Reader´s Digest version of the last couple days: 1. I went to a discotequa (sp?) with my cousin Leslie, Nate, Kara, Angela, and Adam. It was loud and fun but Ecuadorian men have a strong sense of entitlement to everything, including the Gringa having fun ... read more

Erika Schmidt

EcuadorEcuador

The Gringa Learns to Dance

Date: October 7, 2009 Location: Cuenca Time: 9:22 PM Weather: Cloudy with rain in the morning, hot in the afternoon     Communication is hard and I am unable to reply to everyone individually. Just getting adjusted takes up the entire day and I only have internet at the school. I ... read more

Erika Schmidt

EcuadorEcuador

Day Three: The Gringa Makes a Big Mistake

Tuesday, October 6, 2009   October 5, 2009 Location: Mi casa Time: 12:57PM Weather: Cold, cloudy. Not the kind of weather I am fond of.   The first day of the Fundacion was not at all encouraging. I feel overwhelmed and stupid. The class of 7 (Shanon, Megan, Brittany, Kara, ... read more

Erika Schmidt

EcuadorEcuador

Day Two

Sunday, October 4, 2009 Location: Mama Isa's house Time: 9:20 PM Weather: Cool, not cold, very clear. Partial clouds during the day but strong sun for the majority of it, which really heated me up quickly.   I woke up this morning at 8 and had breakfast with Mama Isabel. ... read more

Erika Schmidt

EcuadorEcuador

Bienvenidos a Ecuador

Saturday, October 3, 2009 Location: Casa del Vincente Jerves y Isabel Cordova, Cuenca, Ecuador Time: 11:23 PM, Central Weather: Quite cool.   If I expect to be eased into Ecuadorian culture like I was eased into college life, taking a few credits at a time until I worked my way ... read more

Erika Schmidt

EcuadorEcuador

Define "Home," Since Now I Feel I Have Several

The first time I saw you** in three months, you said, "Aren't you just so glad to be home in America?" I looked you right in the eye and said, "No." Yes, I missed my family--quite terribly. Yes, I missed my friends. Yes, I missed hot water and being clean ... read more

Erika Schmidt

EcuadorEcuador

Have yet to pack... 10 days to go!

So, my hallway and room are a mess... I have the things I have bought for my trip sitting in my duffle bag, ready to be rearranged (several times) and joined by other various things I'll need for South America. I bought Keen Water shoes and Merrel Hiking sneaks, but  ... read more

Emily Bishop

EcuadorEcuador

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Gee Dunsrock

EcuadorEcuador

From Guayaquil to my Beloved Montanita

(Beginning MARCH2009) Driving along the coast of the Ecuadorian ocean, beach town after beach town passes by the taxicab window, all of them seeming to meld into the next in one continuous pattern. But there is one beach town that surpasses the rest; it stands out in its livelihood, its ... read more

Michelle Saltis

EcuadorEcuador

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Armed Guards and Markets with Pig Heads

(Beginning MARCH2009) For a moment I thought that we might not survive more than a few feet into Ecuador. The taxi driver that was to take us to the Peru-Ecuador boarder kept stopping along the road trying to tell us that we had to wait for his friend to come meet ... read more

Michelle Saltis

EcuadorEcuador

That's a lot of Sex on the Beach

(beginning MARCH2009)In South America, you won't find watered down beverages or bars closing at one or two like in plenty of places located in North America; here, drinking is taken to a different level, so prepare yourself adequately before you venture out into the night life. Although I have been ... read more

Michelle Saltis

EcuadorEcuador

rodriga..the stray that found her way into my heart

(beginning MARCH2009)I was eating dinner at one of the local hostel/restaurants, sitting at my table watching the people stroll by what is really the only sandy street in Montanita. The hostel opened right out onto the street, with surfers and beach-goers always coming and going, the filmy dust of sand ... read more

Michelle Saltis

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Where I have been thus far!

I started my travels abroad in April 2008, and so far I have been to eight countries: France, Germany, Canada, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Belize, and Mexico. (I have also lived in California, New York State, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. I have been to Florida, Utah, Nevada(VEGAS baby!), Vermont, Connecticut, ... read more

Michelle Saltis

EcuadorEcuador

Yellow Bike

Recently I was walking around Mariscal, the area of the new town in Quito where I and just about every other Gringo in Ecuador stay. I ate at my favourite barbecue place. There are tons of little cafes, bars and restaurants in Mariscal serving types of food from Cuban Food ... read more

Richard Sitler

EcuadorEcuador

Just Let Me Go Home!

From Saturday, August 1st. It was a night of sleeping on and off between a combination of being very tired and the excitement of traveling home. But I finally got off my friends couch at 5:30 am to quickly shower, brush, and put in my contacts. We ate breakfast and ... read more

Jon Brandt

EcuadorEcuador

To The Banks of Crater Lake

I'm sitting on the shores of this emerald green crater lake, with the wind blowing the still water just enough for the swooshing sound of waves hitting the sand. Because of the incline of the sharp rocks, I'm lying on my back but still able to see the water and ... read more

Jon Brandt

EcuadorEcuador

Hiking Quilotoa: The Green Crater Lake

I've left Cuenca now, but there was still one last place I needed to see before leaving Ecuador. It's why I left my home earlier than I needed to. Quilotoa, a tiny little town in the middle of the "Quilotoa Loop" is really just a large crater lake high in ... read more

Jon Brandt

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Getting Around

Cherish the chivas!

Sarah Henningsen

02 Jan 2010

Ecuador

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Sarah Henningsen

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Throughout the country, you will see them bouncing, jam-packed with both tourists and locals. The wooden, open-air chiva buses are a unique aspect of quotidian Ecuadorian culture. In the busy capital of Quito, a group of friends and I took a special chiva ride through the city that featured live music blaring from atop the party bus and personal cups of hot canelazo. In the adventurer's haven of Mindo, we rode on the upper level of a chiva through the lush cloud-forest and dodged branches Indiana Jones-style. No matter where you go, the chiva bus will carry you on a bumpy, memorable ride. Even in the unpopulated depths of the Amazon jungle, I had to use one for transportation! Only in Ecuador.

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Festivals & Events

Fireworks and cows

Jon Brandt

29 Jun 2009

Ecuador

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Jon Brandt

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During the Corpus Christi celebrations in Ecuador, week-long celebrations take place in almost every town. You can expect to find candy being sold by churches and cathedrals all week long, and every night fireworks and "castillos" or castles are burned down. But there's a twist. The "vaca loca" or "chola loca" is a large paper mache doll that shoot fireworks into the crowd. The cows shoot out of their horns, and the doll out of their hands. People run and scream in fear but also laugh, as this is a tradition here. It can be dangerous, and once in a while something will catch on fire, but it's worth checking it out if you're around.

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Culture Shock

TP in the toilet is a no-no

Jon Brandt

20 Jun 2009

Ecuador

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Jon Brandt

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The pipes in Ecuador are too weak to handle toilet paper, or basically anything other than human waste. So do not throw toilet paper into the bowl! There is a garbage can in every bathroom for this very reason. It can be hard to adjust to at first, but do not make the mistake of causing an overflow, or you'll have to deal with it. This might seem disgusting at first, but after a while you just get used to it. The hardest thing might be switching back to putting toilet paper in the toilet once you go back home.

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Etiquette

Kiss on the left

Jon Brandt

29 Mar 2009

Ecuador

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Jon Brandt

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When greeting a woman in Ecuador you always kiss on the left cheek and that's it. If you are more familiar with her, you can put your hand on her shoulder. With a man, you always give a handshake, but if his hand is tied up with something else, simply rub the backs of your hands. Sometimes you find yourself being introduced to a large group of people and need to spend the next five minutes in a receiving line of kisses and handshakes. But you need to be polite and greet everyone. The same thing goes for when you leave.

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Food

Churros are NOT dessert in Ecuador

Emily Rusca

18 Feb 2009

Ecuador

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Emily Rusca

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I came home from my internship one day while living in a rural indigenous community on the side of Volcán Imbabura. My host mom told me she wanted me to try "colada de churros" because it's traditional for the Día de los Difuntos in October. I said sure, and she placed a bowl of beige soup with little things that I found to be snails when I lifted one up in my spoon. Now, I'm from California and MUCH more familiar with the Mexican version of "churros" -- sweet fried dough covered in sugar and cinnamon. Slurping the little bugger out of its shell, I kept an open mind about this new meaning of "churro," but after I finished about five or six, I respectfully declined to eat more. My problem was more with the texture than the taste.

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Packing

Bring some slippers

Ashley Haugo

03 Jun 2009

Ecuador

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Ashley  Haugo

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Despite being advised to pack a pair of bedroom slippers, I decided to use my precious luggage space for something more practical. However, upon getting settled with my host family, I noticed everyone did indeed wear some sort of slipper around the house. Remaining frugal, I declined to purchase a pair and opted to make do with stocking feet, thinking no harm could be done. It wasn't until two months into my stay when my mother called my little brother (who is seven years old) "uncivilized" for walking around the house in his socks that I realized it is best to follow advice and observations when trying to fit into a different culture.

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Religion

What religion are you?

Jon Brandt

26 Mar 2009

Ecuador

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Jon Brandt

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Living in a country that's 95 percent Catholic, I often find it a little awkward to tell people that I'm Jewish. Most people assume that you're Catholic, but even if you've just met someone they will ask, "What religion are you?" I don't advertise for various reasons, but I'm not going to lie about it when someone asks. The Ecuadorians I talk to are usually very surprised to hear that I'm Jewish, mostly because I'm the first one they've ever met. Though they ask a lot of questions, which can seem annoying and almost insulting, for the most part they aren't meant to harm. They are just curious.

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Sports

Fútbol frenzy

Ashley Haugo

03 Jun 2009

Ecuador

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Ashley  Haugo

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To truly get to the heart of Ecuadorian life—especially that of a young adult—you must attend a soccer match. Many Ecuadorians practically live and breathe by their soccer team. However, be cautious when you go to a match... and maybe wear a hat. I discovered the fans often pass around rolled up "sticks" of newspaper and light them on fire to serve as torches. While the sea of light makes quite a beautiful spectacle around the stadium, I found I had to keep close vigil so that none of the flaming pieces of paper that broke off landed on me!

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Health

End that stomach pain without going to the doctor

Emily Rusca

17 Feb 2009

Ecuador

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Emily Rusca

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When your intestines feel like they're going to explode because they're filled up with gas or you have nothing left inside of you after a long night of no sleep and a lot of time in the bathroom, you've probably got yourself an infection. If you've had unboiled water, get yourself to the doctor. If you've just eaten street food, head to the nearest pharmacy and ask for "10 tabletas de ciprofloxacino" and "suero" (saline solution). Take one pill once every 12 hours. The "suero" is to get yourself rehydrated with electrolytes. You'll be just fine in a couple of days--but no alcohol, as this pill is an antibiotic!

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Slang

Talking straw?

Molly Beer

18 Mar 2009

Ecuador

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Molly Beer

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In El Salvador, my favorite slang phrase was "¡que paja!," or "pajero," which means, literally, "what straw!" or "one who makes straw," but is used to mean "bullshit" or "bullshitter." I taught high schoolers. I had plenty of reasons to accuse people of talking straw. Then I moved to Ecuador. One of my first nights, at dinner with my elderly host parents and their adult children, I used this phrase repeatedly, especially because everyone erupted with laughter when I did. Finally, through tears, my middle-aged host brother asked me if I knew what the the word meant. In Ecuador, I learned that evening, "pajero" means not "one who makes straw," but "one who masturbates." I didn't stop blushing for a week, but it did break the ice.

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Being an American

"Gringo" isn't all that bad

Emily Rusca

18 Feb 2009

Ecuador

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Emily Rusca

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The term "gringo," though invented as a derogatory term, doesn't always mean that an Ecuadorian hates you. Many host families are proud of their "gringitos" and use it actually as a term of affection. La Mariscal in Quito, the main clubbing/restaurant/bar area of Quito, is nicknamed "Gringolandia." Gringos are generally loved in Ecuador, even if they are thought to be filthy rich and get robbed sometimes.

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