Tuesday, July 14

Who the Hell Goes to Ecuador...

Don't know if I'm scared or excited. One day I was prepared to have the usual, not too exciting, financially embarrassing, summer as always, and the next thing I knew I was sitting in an over-crowded post office for 4 hours waiting for my passport. My first passport. So now, I have to use it again. I can't just use it once and stuff it in my underwear drawer. When my son announced that he and his friends were planning a trip to Quito, Ecuador in August, I was shocked, and immediately went into protective mom-mode.... What the hell? Who goes to Ecuador? This was Tim's idea, wasn't it! It's a third world country, there's political unrest, an economic crisis, the red zone, El Nino!!! Ecuador is hella scary. No, you canNOT go! To put my mind at ease, Josh simply began to describe how very wonderful it would be to visit such a country, and perhaps I should go with him. Okay, I'm listening.

There are many reasons why they chose Quito, Ecuador.

  • Ecuador is a very small country, about the size of Colorado. It's a great example of how many different landscapes can be packed into a small space. With the new roads,  you can eat breakfast in the Andes, and dinner in the Amazon. Everything is close.
  • Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar (awesome!!) No need to worry about exchange rates. Ecuador has been using the U.S. dollar as currency since 2000, when it retired the Sucre. And, prices are lower, so you get a lot for your buck.
  • Since Ecuador sits on the equator, mainland Ecuador stays at an average of about 66°F. An endless spring, so to speak. Except in the Amazon, then it's mosquito weather. Bring Deet! Locals say that the city can experience all four seasons in a single day. Hmmm, sounds very San Diego-ish.
  • The Andes and Cotopaxi National Park are just a bus ride north of Quito. The Cotopaxi volcano, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, has erupted more than 50 times since 1738. I don't think there's a sunscreen strong enough to help that.
  • We can visit the Amazon, canoe down the river, and soak up the mysteries of a hidden world. Maybe catch a glimpse of the pink freshwater dolphin. The Ecuadorian Amazon is one of the most bio-diverse areas on the planet. Home to an incredible array of plant and animal species, as well as extraordinary indigenous Indian cultures.
  • The cuisine is diverse, varying with altitude and agricultural conditions. Pork, chicken, beef and cuy are popular.
    Yup, Ecuadorians love them some roasted guinea pig, or cuy. I hear that it's very greasy and not a lot of meat, mostly skin and bones. The locals eat everything, including the small, crunchy paws and creamy brains. Didn't know they had brains. 
  • Quito is the largest preserved historic center in South America. Old Town Quito is known for its cathedrals, museums, and plazas. So, it's worth making time to wander the colonial cobbled streets amid the oldest monuments of the city.
  • AND... we can totally do the white-American-tourist move of all time...visit La Mitad del Mundo, (The Middle of the World), and stand with a foot in each hemisphere. Wow... that's how we gonna do it. After all, the country is named after the equator.

So, am I eager for a South American adventure? After some thought, and persuasive arguments, Josh convinced me to go, because he knew that deep down I wanted to be standing in rubber boots up to my knees, looking at the Amazon with him.We won't be this young again, he says. Oy. It's going down for real. I am going to Quito with my son and his friends, all in their 20's, and me at 60 something. How the hell do I keep up with that? This will be my first time leaving the continent of North America. The idea of going to a third world country scares the shit out of me. The horror stories frighten me. Getting my shots freaks me out. Yellow Fever? Typhoid? Seriously??? And may the Goddess help me on the long ass bus ride from Quito to Lago Agrio. And from there it's on to the Amazon.

But I'm going. I have my passport, my packing lists, and my water purification tablets. I hope to survive traveling in Ecuador with a bunch of 20 year olds, and live to use my passport again.

I want to see llamas! lots and lots of llamas!


Elizabeth Marie said...

This is FANTASTIC!!!! You are so funny and honest. Also, BRAVE!

deborah said...

ha ha... thanks. I am scared out of my mind. but it will make one hell of a story! thanks for visiting my blog!