Sending Documents Overseas From Ecuador

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If you want to send documents from Ecuador to anywhere in the world, the best service we found of all of them, (and where the documents were not lost and actually arrived!) was DHL.

Here is the DHL office we used in Manta, Ecuador on the coast.

DHL MANTA PRINCIPAL

Avenida 7 Entre Calles 13 y 14

Manta, Ecuador

052627256

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If you enjoyed this post, please share it on your favorite social media site!

If you came here to learn more about Ecuador, in  my  new book, Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. I talk more specifically about All. Things. Ecuador. 

Feel free to purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuadoravailable both on Kindle and Paperback formats. 

Personally, I prefer the kindle version as all my photos are in color in that version. However if you like a traditional paperback in your hands where you can make your own notes, feel free to purchase that version where the photos are in black and white.

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

 

 

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St Patricks Day in Ecuador: No Green Beer!

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Happy Saint Patricks Day to those of you who celebrate!

In Ecuador,  the beer is still it’s familiar amber color, there are no people dancing in the street singing in Gaelic and people don’t wear green.

But I thought it would be nice to post a traditional Irish blessing anyway today.

So, here is a traditional Irish blessing in Gaelic, the Irish Language.
Go raibh tú daibhir i mí-áidh
Agus saibhir i mbeannachtaí
Go mall ag déanamh namhaid, 
go luath a déanamh carad,
Ach saibhir nó daibhir, go mall nó go luath,
Nach raibh ach áthas agat
Ón lá seo amach.

The Translation is in English below:

May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings, 
Slow to make enemies, 
quick to make friends, 
But rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness 
From this day forward. 

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it on your favorite social media site!

If you came here to learn more about Ecuador, in  my  new book, Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. I talk more specifically about All. Things. Ecuador. 

Feel free to purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuadoravailable both on Kindle and Paperback formats.

Personally, I prefer the kindle version as all my photos are in color in that version. However if you like a traditional paperback in your hands where you can make your own notes, feel free to purchase that version where the photos are in black and white.

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Why Do Ecuadorians Play Their Music So Deafeningly Loud?

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Below was a question posted on an Ecuador Focused Facebook Site. If you wish to be a “fly on the wall” to the many expats who are living in Ecuador, this conversation is a great opportunity to hear their thoughts on living in Ecuador:

I am not trying to start a war or ruffle feathers, but I honest to goodness want to know: Why do Ecuadorians play their music at deafening levels? There is no regard for neighbors or even the people attending. The party last night started at 8:30 and blasted till 6 this morning. Not all the pillows and ear plugs in town could drown it out. 

(Please Note: I have taken out the names to protect the privacy of the individuals who replied:)

EXPAT RESPONSES

*** Welcome to Ecuador..

*** One thing a loud music culture, the other is insulation is not needed on southamerican homes, therefore with the same party in the states there wont be as much loudness scaping to the neighbour

*** My husband and I are country people. We need quiet. Therefore, we cannot live in towns. We live out in a finca area. About once every six months they have a big party. Fortunately it is far away and we have ways of muting the sound.

*** Some people love city life and the noise that comes with it. We don’t. So we found we will never do well in town.

*** Fyi..talk with the police. There are ordanence in ecuador. There was in galapagos and in guayaquil. I sent a letter to a city hall office. The neighboor was horrible.. dogs too. They have the same laws in ecuador. It is a $200 fine if you dont comply to the complaints.

*** They enjoy noise and a party atmosphere. So do many young people world wide. People and cultures have different preferences.

***Don’t tolerate this. First time, they get a polite request. Second time, they get a less-happy request. Third time, they got a policemen brought to their door. No policemen around? Bang on their door at 7am… or just start hootin’ and hollerin’ like you’re part of the party.

***You want to be in their country you should be more tolerant. You are the guest.

*** Isn’t life too short for BS like this??????

*** That how it is in Vilcabamba downtown. Lots of parties on weekends!

***  This is a Latin thing and found in all Latin based countries even the Philippines. I think they subscribe to the idea that MORE and BIGGER is better grin emoticon

*** Partying, drinking, cockfights, and loud music.. I have found thiem in every Latin country I have visited LOL

*** I think they enjoy being with friends and family and this is one way they celebrate it. I love to see them happy and far be it for me to try to put a stop to it!

***  In my example, the guy was sitting just inside his front door, all alone, with his giant speaker just outside the front door. At 630am.

*** I try to make everyone leave by breakfast.

*** The parties are so interactive, dancing, eating, men telling ‘cachos’, dancing some more….drinking and hungry again.

*** So, who cares about all the many neighbors trying to sleep? Who cares about them? Some may say that is selfish. It is possible to have fun without that crazy high noise level.

*** I tell my neighbors and invite them and I am cognizant of the noise level. I care, I cannot answer for others. I am sorry that you jumped into conclusions that I was okay with being disruptive with the noise….rather, I was explaining as to why the parties last so long.

We have had the exact same problem. I just went to a wedding of friends and there two competing parties with loudspeakers full blast. I finally got it after 5 years. They really enjoy it so now I know I have to leave every major holiday or suffer the consequences.

*** sounds like Thailand too.

*** Es es muy malo ,pero cuando eso suceda llamar a la policía y ellos tendrá que resolverlo las fiestas están permitidas máximo asta las 3:00 de la madrugada no más

*** Wait until one of your neighbors decide to have a Karaoke party. Is even worst they would sing songs out of tune for hours.

*** Shoot me, please. I would go crazy.

*** Had this start blasting one night at 300 am … Sad drunk love songs … Was kinda funny … Luckily I went right back to sleep … The crazy disco lights were actually worse than the music coming thru the window … Musta been laser lights … Doesn’t happen often so I can live with it as luckily I am retired and have no pressing engagements to worry about … Ever smile emoticon

*** Summers here in Rosarito, Mexico, exactamente. And year round there are many restaurants I don’t frequent because I can’t have a conversation of any sort due to the shear volume of the music, forget the noise from the patrons. Think it’s those Latin genes.

*** Isn’t it wonderful that the problem is music? At least you aren’t in the USA where people are being beaten up for the color of their skin.

*** Is it really necessary to interject USA racial issues into a discussion about loud music? Wanna talk about the bad water in Flint as long as you have totally changed the subject from loud music in Ecuador? I lived in St Louis, is there police brutality in America, yes. But more than 50% of the citizens of St Louis are black, and 99.9% can walk down the streets without police brutality.

*** And at least it’s not gun shots … I’ll take party over violence noise every day !!! And night !! We are so uptight in the north Americas we really have lost the ability to live and let live and I hope we don’t ruin Ecuador with our Norms and appreciate and assimilate into the culture or leave to seek more familiar surroundings

*** Sorry to hear that, that doesn’t happened ever here where i live , and this is Ecuador too.. ooops… lol …. have you tried and talk to the police if that happens too often ? .. if it is once a year.. well…

*** I think their hearing is so damaged from previous parties that they need to turn it up! Think about it! These people have been taking their INFANTS to these noisy parties from birth! There has to be some repercussions, hearing damage!!!

*** Because it’s a different culture…

*** Occasionally there are the loud all night parties with the same ol reggie tone booming out. There is some great latin dance music, but seldom hear that, just the same ol crap. What I don’t understand, I have driven down to where the parties are at 4AM or so and NO ONE is there, but the music is still blasting. Why?

*** They are all dead drunk

*** When this happens in Pto Lopez, we presume that the party givers paid for the DJ and the DJ will always give them their monies worth.

***  Its not “Ecuadorians”. Its some Ecuadorians, not all. And it is quite burdensom. Also Colombians, Peruvians, Brasilians, and other Latinamericans do this, with utter disregard towards their neighbours. Its the culture I guess. And often, not much you can do about it. Unfortunately.

*** I am with you on this issue. I live in a noisy neighborhood and am a light sleeper. Loud music through the night! Ugh! I strongly dislike Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30 when the Zumba music is played at the highest level possible right outside my window. My Windows shake! I have to make myself not go out and turn down the volume.

*** I mean I love music I listen it to it all day As I don’t have a TV! However I would never inflict it at all times on my neighbours. I don’t mind a bit of music daytime even if a bit loud (can be hard when I work at home) but all day everyday all night etc. it is tiresome. I feel manners go along way. I notice sometimes here can be lacking like when driving say in UK we put our hand up to say thanks etc when someone gives way. Or when my kids or me walk across a road and a car stops To give way i have taught them to raise their hands as a thank you etc etc I haven’t seen anyone return the same courtesy not once. However I accept that lots of people here will say good morning when standing in a crowd waiting and that def doesn’t happen in UK! So it’s yin and yang I suppose with all things. I will persist with my UK style of manners too ingrained and automatic for me maybe it will catch on?!

*** I don’t get comments like these ones. With all due respect, we’re here in Ecuador as foreign guests. No one is forcing us to be specifically here. If there are things we don’t like about Ecuador, we can move.

Not only that, but as others had mentioned it’s a massively huge (and in my opinion inappropriately racist) generalization to say that “Ecuadorians” play their music loudly. My girlfriend’s mother certainly doesn’t, nor does her grandma, her brother, her brother’s wife, her uncles, her aunts, etc., etc., etc….

*** I do not think anyone said everyone!! I certainly did not as I am married into an Ecuadorian family who do not do this. Also I think we are allowed to have our opinions and little moans just because we live here we shouldn’t have to say “Hey everything is great, all ok, and I accept it all whether I like it or not”. This really is simplistic. This thing of saying “well if you don’t like it then leave” that is racist. I hear that all the time to migrants in the UK!

*** I doubt anyone expects a whole culture to change!!! As I said when I can I will move to a quieter area. I think it is perfectly ok to let off steam here in the expats group.

*** I think expecting an entire country’s culture to be changed in order to accommodate people coming here for a low cost of living is quite absurd.

*** Exactly correct. It’s only some, not all.

*** I am with you on this issue. I live in a noisy neighborhood and am a light sleeper. Loud music through the night! Ugh! I strongly dislike Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-8:30 when the Zumba music is played at the highest level possible right outside my window. My Windows shake! I have to make myself not go out and turn down the volume.

*** I mean I love music I listen it to it all day As I don’t have a TV! However I would never inflict it at all times on my neighbours. I don’t mind a bit of music daytime even if a bit loud (can be hard when I work at home) but all day everyday all night …

*** I don’t get comments like these ones. With all due respect, we’re here in Ecuador as foreign guests. No one is forcing us to be specifically here. If there are things we don’t like about Ecuador, we can move

*** I do not think anyone said everyone!! I certainly did not as I am married into an Ecuadorian family who do not do this. Also I think we are allowed to have our opinions and little moans just because we live here we shouldn’t have to say “Hey everything is cool…

*** My comment was a reply to the person making the post, who did use the term “Ecuadorians” as a generalization. The difference is, migrants in the UK are probably in the UK for much, much different reasons than most of the people making and commenting

*** I doubt anyone expects a whole culture to change!!! As I said when I can I will move to a quieter area. I think it is perfectly ok to let off steam here in the expats group.

*** After a few nights in Cotacachi with the roosters, musical garbage trucks, early morning blaring loudspeakers and the music it was a no brainer that ¨city¨ life was not for me. So we bought a short distance from town.

*** When you say, “Ecuadorians”, you generalize. Not all “Ecuadorians” are created equal. I could say the same thing about people, here in the States, but that would be like putting everyone in a certain category. Signed, an Ecuadorian.

*** Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con usted.

*** Yes I suppose reading the op the poster could of used a better choice of words. I am sure it was not meant in an offensive way. Come on people we all generalize as some point in our lives no one is perfect – look I just did i just said all us Brits are moaners….please UK expats I don’t mean it honest its just a joke!

*** And another generalisation from another Brit……we fell in live with Ecuador and Ecuadorians. Does NOT mean we cannot voice our opinions or little moans. We think the main issue with living in Ecuador is the expats who seem either to be delightful, warm and friendly, or little arses.

*** I reckon I am somewhere in between Frankie, delightful, warm and friendly ass? smile emoticon !

*** it’s OK! I had the gall to complain about a corporate grocery chain, TIA, cause they do not sell kitty litter and rarely sell Diet Coke. OMG did the spears fly! I was told to get the f*ck back to America.

*** Before we bought our land and built our home in Puerto Lopez, an Ecuadorian friend gave us great advice. He said neighbors are everything here…get to know them BEFORE you buy anything. We did. I think we have the best neighbors in town.

*** I agree with most of you..not all Ecuadorian used to do this ..

***I think some of you are bing nit picky about the choice of words, especially referring to Ecuadorians. Maybe it would have been more PC.

What do you think?

In  my  new book, Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. I talk more specifically about All. Things. Ecuador. Feel free to purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuadoravailable both on Kindle and Paperback formats. Personally, I prefer the kindle version as all my photos are in color in that version. However if you like a traditional paperback in your hands where you can make your own notes, feel free to purchase that version where the photos are in black and white.

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

New Years Traditions: Ecuador vs Chile

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Now that I have celebrated New Years in both Ecuador and Chile, I thought it might be interesting to give you some idea of the New Years traditions celebrated in each country.

RUNNING AROUND WITH A SUITCASE

Ecuadorians and Chilean share the custom of people running the block around their homes lugging an empty suitcase at a few minutes before midnight. People who perform this yearly New Years tradition routine are all hoping to travel in the year to come.

MONIGOTE TRADITION

Last year, when I was living in Ecuador,  I wrote a blog titled, New Years In Ecuador: Burn Up Your Troubles. (To read that blog go here: http://wp.me/p47vLx-8N) I explained the Ecuadorian Monigote tradition of creating papermache figures of all sizes, called Monigotes.

Ecuadorians  fill these Monigotes with pieces of paper on which they have written down all the things from their life in the past year that they wish to leave behind. Monigote’s can be a family affair, with every member of the family contributing their papers to a single Monigote or each member of the family can have their very own Monigote figure.

Then at midnight, everyone and their family set fire to their collective or personal Monigote, thus burning up all the troubles  and starting the new year truly with a clean slate.

Chileans I spoke to this past New Years had never heard of anything like the Ecuadorian Monoigote Tradition. When I explained it to the Chileans I know, in general they found Monigotes rather a “quaint” custom and preferred their parties and champaign and pineapple sherbet tradition.

RED AND YELLOW UNDERWEAR

However Chileans did have a few interesting traditions in common with the Ecuadorians, such as wearing different color underwear to bring an abundance of a certain quality into your life, though the colors linked with the desired objectives differed.

Ecuadorians wear red underwear for love and yellow underwear for money, while Chileans wear yellow underwear to attract both love and money abundance in the new year to come.

GRAPES

Grape sales boost during New Year’s Eve in Chile as it is considered lucky to eat 12 per person — apparently increasing the chances of affluence during the year. We went to the grocery store early in the morning on the day before New Years Eve in Chile to buy some grapes and they were already totally sold out.

NEW YEARS SONGS

While the English-speaking world sing a few verses “Auld Lang Syne” come midnight, I don’t remember any special song sung by Ecuadorians. However,  Chileans sing “Un Año Más” on the hour, and loudly. We were up 25 floors and you could hear them singing both above and below us in our condo and also in the streets below.

Chlieans drink a variety of drinks thorughout the evening of New Years Eve, such as cola de mono (coffee, cinnamon, milk and aguardiente) and poncha la romana (champagne with piña colada ice cream). Both of these are guaranteed to give you a completely filthy hangovers. (We decided to stick with white wine.)

Hangout spots:

When we lived in Ecuador, we celebrated New Years at the beach each year. When deciding where to spend New Year’s Eve in Chile, Valparaíso is usually the first place that springs to mind for most people in Chile. However,  I did some research and, though we watched the fireworks from above Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, there are many other places worth considering that offer something different if you plan to come to Chile on New Years Eve at the end of this year 2016. Fair warning: get your reservations made NOW as there are very few places available the closer it gets to New Years.

Torre Entel fireworks

I am not sure what the fireworks are like in Quito, Ecuador as I never spent a New Years Eve there. However, Santiago Chile’s Torre Entel — the 418-foot-tall Television and communications tower — lights up as the yearly firework erupts from the structure’s peak. Due to its tremendous height by Chilean standards, it’s hard not to notice the fireworks display spouting high into the night sky, wherever you may be in the city. The show kicks off at midnight and it’s advised to find a decent vantage point early as people flock from far and wide to guarantee the best views.

Asado

Like Ecuadorians, more often than not Chileans get together at a friend or family’s house and fire up the coals for an asado — creating a huge feast to welcome in the new year. In both countries, all sorts of meats get the flame-grilled treatment, especially choripan.

Ecuadorians most often drink a toast with beer or whatever alcohol is on hand. In Chile, people traditionally celebrate the actual striking of midnight with their families, with a toast of champagne with pineapple ice cream.

In Ecuador, people stay where they are for a fiesta and it can last well into the next morning. After dining and the New Years fireworks are over, people in Chile tend to go out in search of a dancing joint or move on to another different location for another house party….or two. Chileans do love to party.

Castillo Hidalgo

In Chile, for those looking for something a little more lively, the yearly bash within Castillo Hidalgo is sure to entertain. There are three rooms blasting out various types of music including electro, indie and 90s disco. It may not be the cheapest option at $30,000 pesos a ticket — $45,000 pesos for VIP — but you should get a lot of bang for your buck.

This past New Years, DJ Full, Roland Murga and VJ Juan entertained the crowds. Located atop of Santa Lucía the castle was built in 1816. Due to its elevation the site also boasts brilliant views of the Torre Entel fireworks. Check out the website for further details.

 

Valparaíso

We had a very different experience of “New Years At The Beach” this year. In Ecuador, local folks pop some fireworks and it’s over in a few minutes.

This year we were in Vina del Mar, Chile and this is one of the largest fireworks displays in South America. The place was jammed. Thousands of Chileans gravitate towards Valparaíso and neighboring Viña del Mar for New Year’s Eve. With so many great vantage points in the city people gather on the hills, kicking off impromptu parties. The power is cut in many part of the city so that the spectacle can be better appreciated.

However, the fireworks only make up a small part of the evening, most people travel to Valparaiso to party hard.

A stage is set up in Plaza Sotomayor where live bands play. The streets are choked with confetti and spilled champagne. People are awake all night long partying.

Escape to the country

Ecuador has many beautiful locations to ring in the new year besides the beach. This is also true of Chile.

Spending New Year’s Eve surrounded by mountains, lakes and incredible landscapes, all the while escaping the noise and partying of Santiago is a great alternative.

The Los Lagos Region, south of the Río Bío Bío and more or less reaching Puerto Montt, is a region packed tight with forests, snow capped volcanoes, hundreds of lakes and lagoons and hot springs.

Parque Nacional Vicente Pérez Rosales not far from Puerto Varas is highly recommended — it is the perfect destination to go hiking and camping under the stars with friends. Just be prepared for a long bus or car journey to reach the region.

OUR EXPERIENCE IN VINA DEL MAR VALPARAISO 2016

You might think that for New Year’s Eve, the place to be in Chile would be Santiago. While there are (not insubstantial) fireworks (fuegos artificiales ) in Santiago, the biggest New Years Eve party people say takes place in Valparaiso, out on the coast, just seventy miles away.

Even if you watch the fireworks from up above and away from the crowds like we did from our condo, Valparaíso’s fireworks display on New Year’s Eve is truly stunning.

Valparaíso is a protected UNESCO site and is often called “the Pearl of the Pacific.” It’s a port city, though no longer the most important port of the country (San Antonio now has that distinction). Still, commerce comes through here, as do some 50 cruise ships, often either on their way from or to Cape Horn and Antarctica. Valparaíso is famous for its picturesque colorful houses on steep hillsides, and the historic ascensores and funiculares (elevators and funiculars) that ferry people up them.

The fireworks celebration is actually the culmination of three days of celebration in the port city, which though expansive, is not that populous, as there are few large buildings in the city. There are great views from every hilltop, along the water front, from a selection of piers, and you can even buy a ticket for one of a couple of public boats that float alongside the exploding fireworks.

In a country of just 17 million people, as many as a million people flock to Valparaíso for the New Year’s celebration, which is the largest in Latin America.

As I mentioned above, if you’re going to go, book as early as possible, and get to the city early as well. Revelers find moving between Valparaíso and neighboring Viña del Mar on New Year’s Eve tricky, at best.

The Viña del Mar fireworks have never disappointed its spectators, and the reason for that is the permanent job and production capable of supporting a show that is worth millions. Since the year 2007, they explode in the garden city, Valparaiso and Concon, covering more than 27 kilometers of the Pacific coast, overwhelming all its spectators.

To achieve this, the city hall invests around 600,000 US dollars, which generates 23 minutes of explosions and admiration. With this event the alliance of the three municipalities applied for the Guinness Records, showing a worldwide quality.

To enjoy New Year in Viña del Mar, people from different cities and regions get up early and travel to get a place or parking spot in some nearby resort. The key launching points of the fireworks this New Year were: Recreo, Caleta Abarca, Peru Avenue, Los Marineros beach, Vergara pier and Reñaca, whereas in Valparaiso there were nine launching points and three in Concon.

With detonations from these places, for us in Viña it was possible to enjoy the view of the fireworks from different angles of the commune, this thanks to that the Illustrious Municipality of Viña del Mar is in charge of installing different viewpoints, especially in the highest and furthest places of the city, meaning that, this show is dedicated to the whole community.

The companies which provide the firework equipment deliver the best quality. It is the same one used in Spain and Italy. Viña del Mar, and its alliance, got a total of 24 tons of fireworks, being this the best event of all time. This shows that New Year in this city is always better than the last, not only in quantity but in quality. That is why this plan is the favorite of the majority of Chileans and many foreigners who come only to enjoy it.

No matter where you celebrate New Year’s Eve in either Ecuador or Chile, enjoy the celebration!

If you came here to this blog really only wanting to know more about Ecuador, feel free to buy my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. My book is available both on Kindle and Paperback formats, though I prefer the kindle as all my photos are in color in that version.
Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

My First Impressions Of Ecuador vs Chile: A Collection Of Contrasts

The Art Of Andy Goldsworthy
Art Of Andy Goldsworthy
Ecuador vs Chile is a collection of contrasts. After living here for three months, I feel now I have been in Chile long enough to be able to write just a bit about my first impressions.
  • The Faces Of Chile

Ecuadorian faces are different than the Chilean faces. The Ecuadorian faces have more of an indigenous look to them, a result of the Quichwa influence from their Inca heritage and also those people who have come from Peru and other neighboring South American countries.

Here in Chile there is more of a European influence in their faces, as they are more mixed cultures coming from many other countries.

  • The Contrast Of Immigration Policies

Chile also has a great history of immigration. Countries like Chile and Argentina have always highly encouraged immigration from other cultures. This cultural influx over many years has added to the great mix of physical characteristics, rich culinary options, world class fashion and different political ideologies seen here.

Ecuador by contrast over the many centuries has been rather closed unto itself, with little or any European influence upon it. Many educated Ecuadorian people told me that unlike , Ecuadorians prefer to retain their own culture. As a result, few people from other countries in Europe or other Latin American cultures have moved there or intermarried with the local Ecuadorian people.

  • The Culture Of Beauty and Fashion

From what I observed living in Ecuador two years, unless you are in a more professional community of Ecuadorians, Ecuadorian culture encourages their women to be the ruler of the home and take care of their kids and their husbands not to become a fashionista.

The elder Ecuadorian women, on the coast at least, tend to be a bit on the heavier side and appear to pay little attention to fashion. But this fashion sense tends to shift to a bit more upscale in more professional areas such as the female lawyers of Quito who we met.

Younger Ecuadorian women tend to emphasize their physical features and show off their figures. I would characterize their fashion sense as “sexual,” seemingly designed to get attention from men and at the same time also be comfortable in the heat of the Ecuador climate on the equator. I never quite got over the fact though that so many of the Ecuadorian women start having babies at age 12, regardless of how they dressed.

By contrast, Chileans have a greater sense of what I would call “elegant sexy.” This “woman of fashion” will often endure physical discomfort for high end fashion effect. I have seen  this all over Latin American countries and also in Europe.

Sure, Chilean women of all ages dress up for the beach.  Their beach outfits can be very revealing in the string bikini sense or sheer dresses. However, both the young and older Chilean women have the tanned and toned bodies to pull it off.

But even if they don’t have that “perfect skinny body” so promoted in the US, it doesn’t stop a Chilean woman from putting on a bikini and showing off whatever she does have. Some women also make a more conservative choice of a one piece bathing suit or T shirt and shorts.

Whatever the choice of beach outfits, they are out there walking and playing paddle board or catch or soccer or making sand castles with their children.

Overall, Chilean women seem to aspire to also dress for what looks good on them and be “pulled together” in the latest fashions you see being sold in Europe or the United States, whether it is out for a walk, going to the grocery store, working or shopping.

Sure, some Chilean women go a bit over the top with their huge bags, earrings, platform heels and high skirts up to the bottom of their butts. But as Diana Vreeland says, “A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”

As I watch Chilean women, all I can say is that they seem proud of  their personal fashion stamp and also look like they are having a lot of fun wherever they go, whatever their taste. I respect that.

  • Hair

I love the long, drapy, sexy hair of the Chilean women and also how they dress always so pulled together in their skinny jeans and loose flowing tops that sway along with their hair.

I didn’t ever see Ecuadorian women putting a lot of effort into their hair or their clothes. Ecuadorian women by contrast tend to put their hair up in braids if they are in traditional indigenous Quechwa dress or in pony tails on the bus to keep it off their necks in the heat. Styles are short and stylish in the city of Quito but otherwise just long and straight cut for the most part.

  • The Fabulous Chilean Walk

The really stylish upscale  women of Chile are absolutely fabulous to watch, especially when they walk. They are the epitome of what Sophia Loren said,  “A woman’s dress should be a like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” These upscale Chilean women really do walk like one famous European designer suggested a woman should do: “As if three men are watching them intently from behind.”

  • Chile Is A Culture of Travel

Chilean younger people are encouraged to get an education, make something of themselves and travel.

Both Chilean women and men aspire to and have both local and international careers. They love to travel all over the world and do travel on a regular basis as a part of their ever expanding interest in the world as a whole.

Even the men who are the concierges at the desk here at our building travel in their time off from work. One guy downstairs just came back from a two week trip to Paris and commented how much he “loved the food” but that the weather was just “too cold for him.”

Younger Chileans go off to study at Ivy League colleges in the United States and have commented to us that “the values are very different between the two cultures.” (More on that in a future blog!)

Most Chileans take 2 week length holidays thoughout the year, and more than once a year. Average Ecuadorians on the coast we met were lucky to travel beyond the next town in their entire lives.

  • The Malls

Chileans LOVE to shop and get the best of everything the world has to offer. And the malls reflect that. Every top name brand merchandise is here. Chileans shop for entertainment on the weekends.

A friend here told me that if a Chilean takes up a new sport, such as hiking or windsurfing, they tend to buy everything for that sport, top of the line brands of clothes and equipment, before they even take their first lesson!

The Ecuadorian malls for the most part are not nearly as elaborate as the malls in Chile. With the exception of the one mall we went to in Cumbaya, just south of the city of Quito, malls are quite small and have very few first world brands. Ecuadorians tend to choose their buying options for how they function rather than for being seen in a famous brand or fashion.

  • The Culture of Food and Music

Chileans LOVE good food of all kinds and cultural traditions.

The Ecuadorians love a certain type of food that is traditional Ecuadorian tradition of fish, rice, and beans or fresh chicken soup from a chicken you killed and plucked that morning.

Chileans adore live music and the musical cultural contributions people from around the world make to Chile with their musical traditions.

Ecuadorians don’t have live music anywhere unless it is at a rare concert in Quito. However in Ecuador you do hear a lot of music from boom boxes from the back of the cars and from DJ’s at their many discos until well past 5 AM.

  • The Chilean vs Ecuadorian Culture of Hello

 Chileans are very friendly and kiss you hello on the right cheek the moment you meet them. No Hollywood “air kisses” from Chileans.

The Ecuadorians are a bit more reserved, but from an early age, even the children are expected to give you a kiss on your cheek upon greeting.

  • Chilean vs Ecuador Curiosity

Chileans are also extremely interested in anyone who visits Chile and you are asked all kinds of questions about who you are, where you have travelled, what you love, what kind of area you have worked in, how you like Chile so far and what you like about Chile compared to where you came from. They want to know YOU and ask LOTS of questions.

Ecuador by contrast, are very curious why you would ever leave the United States. Many of them have a cherished dream of visiting the United States one day, kind of like the United States is their version of Mecca for the people of Muslim faith.

More often than not in Ecuador, you get the question, “Why are you here?” and “Why would you EVER leave the United States? It’s perfect there.”

As you enter more of a conversation with an Ecuadorian, invariably you learn that the person who you are talking to has either gone to the United States to work and bring back money they saved or has great aspirations to go to the United States one day.

Ecuadorians never speak of ever visiting Europe or Asia, let alone Chile or other South American countries

  • Ecuadorians Think Chile Is Too Expensive

The common comment from Ecuadorians about Chile is, “Oh, it’s so expensive in Chile. Too expensive for me. ”

However, our personal experience so far on the cost of living at least right now in Chile with the currently strong U.S. dollar exchange rate, is about the same cost currently as living in Ecuador.

  • Chileans Think Ecuador Is Too Third World

When Chileans learn that we just spent the last two years of our lives in Ecuador, Chileans invariably get this look of concern on their faces as if to say, “poor you,” but they always first ask, “So what did you think of living in Ecuador? How was it?”

When  we tell them a bit more about our experience and how much we are enjoying our time in Chile now, they say things like, “Well, you know. We are a First World Country here in Chile. Ecuador has a ways to go now doesn’t it?

  • The Cultures Of Personal Space Are Very Different

Chileans have a very different sense of respect for space than Ecuadorians do. Chileans give you lots of space, whereas the Ecuadorians really do not.

Ecuadorians will practically be on top of you from behind you in a line and move even closer to you when you move away from them. At the bank counter, Ecuadorians will just come on up, stand beside you and lay their arms on the counter or look over your shoulder, even when it is not their turn. The tellers at the bank do not tell them to step aside or back.

At the ATM machine, Ecuadorians think nothing of coming up and standing up very close behind you where they can see everything you are doing and even how much money you are getting out of the machine.  However if there is a guard standing by at the bank door near the row of machines, Ecuadorians will stand back behind the yellow line usually painted on the floor a couple of feet back.

Ecuadorians will also use the armrests well over on to your side of the seat on a plane or sitting in a public chair at an office. They just have a habit of spreading out wherever they are.

Ecuador tends to be a culture of patience with all the long lines everywhere you go to do anything. However if you are doing anything while you are waiting, like a needlepoint in a public space like I tend to do while I am waiting, a crowd will usually gather around to get a closer look at what I am doing.

Strangers will even stick their faces in very close to mine while I am looking down and working on my needlepoint as if to see exactly what my eyes are seeing as I work. Ecuadorians think nothing of asking many questions about who the needlepoint is for or what I will do with it.

I ever quite got used to an Ecuadorian’s sense of space.

However, you never feel like a Chilean person is on top of you or crowding you, like I always felt in Ecuador. Here in Chile, I feel a bit more like I can breathe as people are generally more respectful of space, at least in the way I think of giving another person a sense of spacial privacy.

There is at least 3 feet between you and the next person in line here in Chile. At an ATM machine Chileans tend to wait five feet back or even outside the door of the bank until you are finished with your transaction.

  • The Culture of  Speaking English vs Spanish

Another thing I notice is that Ecuadorians will encourage you to speak Spanish and gently and quietly repeat what you just said correctly if you didn’t get it right. They love seeing you try to speak their language, and then try very sweetly to help you improve.

The Chileans seem to have a sense of keeping their opinions about your Spanish, good or bad, to themselves and will not correct you unless you ask them specifically to do so. Then they will be happy to help.

But we have known people a full month before learning that THEY spoke PERFECT ENGLISH! But Chileans have always respected our attempts to blend in with them and make an effort to speak Spanish, however clumsy.

Rarely does a Chilean speak English to you or in a conversation in Spanish switch to English, which would have been more comfortable and easier for us.

  • More Impressions To Come

Anyway I hope this description gives you at least a little sense of the two countries, Ecuador and Chile, by contrast. I know I will have more impressions the longer I am in Chile. I will share those “boots on the ground personal experiences” as I can speak to them more fully.

If you came here to this blog really only wanting to know more about Ecuador, feel free to download or purchase my new bookWords To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador. My book is available both on Kindle and Paperback formats, though I prefer the kindle as all my photos are in color in that version.

 

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Words To Thrive By for World Travelers: Footprints in Ecuador

Gratitude Day 5: All Shall Be Well

Trust The Process

Trust The Process

Gratitude Day 5: Trust The Process

As many of you who follow this blog day to day know, I am currently writing a 9 day Gratitude Project here on Footprints In Ecuador.

It doesn’t really matter where you live in the world. As they say, wherever you are, there you are. The practice and process of Gratitude can be applied wherever you are at any moment and to any given experience.

In my life, Gratitude requires trust in the process of life unfolding exactly as it should, knowing in my heart that my needs truly will be met no matter how it may look at any given moment. I trust that there is a Force of Love moving through the universe that holds me fast and will never ever let me go.

Trust in the process also suggests that we can trust ourselves enough to know that we will always have the strength, courage and faith to make it through whatever challenges that we are going through right now.

As Saint Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)  said, “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

I believe this with all my heart and soul. Do you?

All Shall Be Well

All Shall Be Well

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If you came here looking for more information on the nuts and bolts of Ecuador, and not on my personal thoughts about life or gratitude, feel free to order my new book from Amazon on all things Ecuador, Words To Thrive By for World Travlers: Footprints in Ecuador below:

Ecuador: President Declares State Of Emergency PART 2- Article

Here is an additional helpful article on the oncoming El Niño from Triple Pundit by Sarah Lozanova:

Ecuador Braces for El Niño

ecuador floodThe El Niño phenomenon of 2015-2016 is expected to be rival that of 1997-1998, which caused losses equal to 14.5 percent of Ecaudor’s GDP. El Niño causes a weakening of the trade winds, allowing heat to accumulate. The phenomenon shifts global weather, causing flooding in some areas and droughts in others.

Ecuador and Peru are the countries that are most directly affected by El Niño. If predictions are correct, the months ahead could cause debilitating floods, outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses, and catastrophic crop and infrastructure damage.

I write from coastal Manabi Province in Ecuador, which experienced the most fatalities in the country during the 1997-1998 event, totaling 104. There is awareness of severe El Niño predictions, but most people I’ve spoken with in the southern coastal town of Puerto Lopez think it will not be as severe as forecasts.

There have been warnings in past years that haven’t come to fruition, leaving many to think the coming months will be uneventful as well. Others are hopeful that an El Niño event could bring rains, ending a severe drought in the region. The current president, Rafael Correa, has significantly augmented the infrastructure in this South American country, leaving some to wonder how it would weather El Niño event.

Preparation

“I do not think we’re ready [for El Niño],” says Roque Mendoza, the former coordinator for the Secretariat of Risk Management for Manabi Province. “Lack of training, and people not knowing what to do in an emergency, is what causes tragedies to be magnified.”

Although one Puerto Lopez hotel owner I spoke with constructed a flood wall behind his property after El Niño flooding in 2002 and another homeowner is adding fill to raise the elevation of their property, I see few other people taking preventative actions. Recent governmental infrastructure improvements may help the situation, if planned and executed with natural disasters in mind.

In Puerto Lopez, a major beachfront construction project is building bridges over rivers and burying beachfront power lines under a new road, which could help prepare the town for strong storms. Residents, however, are concerned by the fact that the beachfront road is now at a higher elevation than some of the surrounding homes, potentially contributing to flooding. There is also a sense among many residents that this project doesn’t address more urgent needs, such as waste water treatment and access to potable water.

The Chamber of Agriculture of Zone II (along Ecuador’s southern coast) is urging the government to declare a state of emergency before the arrival of El Niño. They believe the government has not adequately prepared for the phenomenon, by clearing canals and dredging rivers, giving a path for the removal of flood waters.

In contrast, the Peruvian government has already declared a state of emergency in over half of the country’s regions. There, the government has been cleaning out coastal riverbeds, building flood walls, and distributing mobile bridges to avoid communities getting cut off if existing bridges fail.

Fisheries

fishery el ninoFishing is one of the primary industries in coastal Ecuador, and an El Niño event could have major consequences.

As many fish species migrate to colder waters and others lose weight from lack of food, the industry could be heavily impacted, resulting in lower yields. This is difficult to prepare for, other than seeking out fish species that are less impacted by a change in ocean temperatures.

There is also concern about 500 square miles of shrimp pools at risk of flooding, causing fear in the shrimp sector.

Agriculture

farm ecuadorDrought has plagued many farmers in Ecuador in recent years, disproportionately impacting farmers without access to irrigation or wells. The predicted storms and floods could cause crop damage and landslides.

In other cases, the damage is more indirect. The predicted El Niño flooding could kill snakes, causing a spike in rodent populations that could damage sugarcane, for example. Infrastructure damage could make roads impassible, making it impossible to sell crops and causing income loss.

In Ecuador, many of the farms cultivate a monoculture of just one agricultural product, with thousands of seasonal labors used for the harvest. In the Ecuadorian lowlands, this is most commonly bananas or sugarcane. Large plantations are often less resistant to natural disasters because crop diversity can help mitigate the risk of crop failure. In addition, large plantations may waste a viable harvest because farm workers cannot be brought in for the harvest during a natural disaster.

El Niño rains, however, could break the drought and offer relief along the southern coast of Ecuador. Some of the cropland in Manabi Province is now fallow due to drought, forcing inhabitants to seek out other forms of employment. It does, however, put more pressure on income from fishing and tourism, which would be at risk if the El Niño event does materialize as predicted.

Increased health risk

14684093902_93e3e56dd1_zIncreased precipitation can lead to a spike in mosquito-borne illnesses in Ecuador, including malaria, chikungunya and dengue. Damage to sanitation infrastructurecombined with an interruption in health services and lack of access to safe drinking water could lead to illness, especially among more vulnerable populations.

There have been public health campaigns in Ecuador to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses. Health professionals have walked around town, hanging posters and talking to business owners. Public service announcements on the topic are also relatively common, but unfortunately so are practices that encourage the breeding of mosquitoes.

At-risk populations

Natural disasters often disproportionately affect certain groups of people more than others. Having savings can serve as a buffer against loss of income and increases the means to evacuate during natural disaster. Owning medical supplies allows people to treat themselves for minor injuries and prevents the development of more major health ailments. Living in durable homes that are not constructed in floodplains mitigates the risk and damage of flooding. Overcrowding of housing and lack of access to safe drinking water that plague developing countries increase illness and the spread of infectious disease.

Environmental degradation

Massive and rapid deforestation has occurred in Ecuador’s coastal forests in since the 1950s, where 70 percent of the coastal mangroves have been removed by the commercial shrimp industry.

Deforestation compounds the impact of El Niño. Loss of vegetation increases the occurrence of mudslides, which caused the most fatalities in Ecuador during El Niño event of 1997-1998. Deforestation also contributes to soil erosion, which clogs waterways and causes floods.

“Disasters are not only caused by nature, but also by human hands and lack of prevention,” says Roque Mendoza.

Image Credit: 1) Flickr/Sol Robayo 2) Le Minh Vu 3) Flikr/Edward Slipszenko 4) Flickr/CDC Global

Sarah Lozanova is a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Triple Pundit, Home Power, and Solar Today. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and she resides in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Midcoast Maine with her husband and two children.