Ecuador: beauties and cultural shock

Today it’s been two months since I moved to Ecuador and I have to say it’s been a pleasant surprise. The people are incredibly warm and nice, and everywhere there are beautiful things to be seen. So far I’ve been to the south, east and the center of Ecuador, and I am living in the Coastal area. I have to say that every part has a very unique characteristic, and they are very different from each other… 

In the east you have the Amazonia jungle, or the ‘Selva’ how they call it here. The biodiversity is incredible, everything is big, colorful and beautiful. The hot weather makes it perfect to swim in the stunning blue rivers, and explore some of the radical sports.

In the center, Ecuador has Quito surrounded by the Andes! The altitude might make you dizzy, but you can have some coca tea! The cold weather, with the mountains and volcanos all around, gives Quito a unique charm. The Centro Histórico, the first one protected by UNESCO, will teach you a thing or two about colonization in Latin America. Around Quito, the beautiful mountains, volcanoes and small pueblitos make it perfect for long hikes, and stunning views.

In the South you have the charming city of Cuenca, and the beautiful national park of Cajas. Cajas will allow you to do great [sometimes difficult] hikes surrounded by a very unique biodiversity at 14000 feet and a cold weather, while you can see dozens of gorgeous churches in Cuenca and enjoy great Cafés.

Ecuador has been a very nice surprise; it is a beautiful country with a lot of natural environment. I can’t wait to explore it more…

 

But cultural shock is normal, making mistakes is normal…

Besides all the beautiful places I’ve been so far, and all the awesome things I’ve seen, some things have strike me as “different” and “weird.” They are part of the cultural shock. Weird does not mean wrong, it is just different from what I am used to…

  • Most restaurants have a place under the table where you can tight your belongings (backpack, purse…). I haven’t notice people actually using it, but they exist
  • You can’t enter a supermarket with your backpack. They have lockers by the entrance where you can squeeze your belongings inside.
  • There are “menu” options everywhere, and they are delicious! You can have a 3 course meal with a juice for 2.50, 3 dollars, and they are the best meals I had in country
  • LADIES: remember to fetch some toilet paper before using the bathroom! All the toilet paper stays outside. I am still trying to understand the reason…
  • Breakfast menu includes a juice AND coffee. It keeps getting better, all the juices are natural! How awesome!
  • It is hard to exchange bills larger than 20$, and most places will not accept them
  • Get ready to use a lot of coins. A LOT!
  • If you are white and blonde they just assume you are from the United States, and they will call you ‘gringa’
  • People randomly ask where you are from. By randomly I mean, they will look at you across the aisle on the bus and ask where you are from
  • Women breastfeed everywhere, all the time. By that I mean, EVERYWHERE. Go girls!!!
  • The cities shut down on Sunday. Make sure you don’t need anything on Sunday cause there is nowhere to buy.
  • There is a spa/ hair dresser in every corner…

 

Also, making mistakes is kind of normal when you are in a new country. I do speak the language, but sometimes I am just too tired to pay attention, or just don’t really know the local terms… so these are some of the fun facts that happened to me in the past 2 months…

  • Two nights ago I bought ketchup thinking it was tomato sauce… Ended up eating pasta with ketchup. Yup!
  • A week ago I mistakenly ordered an entire chicken in a restaurant – yes, the server brought me an entire roasted chicken and I was like “What am I suppose to do with this”…. It was a family plate and I’ve missed that detail.
  • My hostel didn’t have 24 receptionist. When I first arrived I was stuck outside in the rain, and the neighbors offered me to wait inside their house. Typical Latino hospitality, they even offered me food and drinks… gotta love it!

4 thoughts on “Ecuador: beauties and cultural shock

  1. this was a really interesting look into the culture shock and adjustments needed when you move abroad! i write about it too but about czech republic, and i imagine my culture shock was much less- but funnily enough, there is no toilet paper in some bathrooms either; it must be taken inside. i think it’s an economical thing- they think it will reduce use. i enjoyed reading! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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