Monday, January 14, 2013
I'm Off to Discover Ecuador
I thought the best way to launch this blog was to post a new video from the Ecuador Tourism Ministry that captures the essence of the Ecuador I discovered many years ago when I traveled overland from Caracas through Colombia to Quito.
Far from the postcard images of stately churches and big-eyed llamas I found a land of contrasts; tiny mountain hamlets seemingly unchanged since the days of the Incas, steamy jungles full of colorful butterflies and birds, and crazy cities like Guayaquil where the parties last all night.
I also discovered remote beaches with salt-encrusted surf dudes just as cool and laid back as the ones I'd left behind in Caribbean Colombia and Venezuela.
Back then I had no guidebook or any real clue what I would find in Ecuador but the offer of a free bed and a few weeks of freedom to explore was enough to get me on the bus.
Once there I just followed my instincts and went with the flow: Quito, Otavalo, Mindo, San Rafael, San Vicente, Cuenca, Vilcambamba, Guayaquil, Galapagos - each place different to the one before, like a microcosm of South America squeezed into one tiny country.
That first adventure and the people I met on it has set the tone for all subsequent trips.
And now I'm setting off again for the land of volcanoes, beaches and jungles and all I can think about is chowing down on a cuy (roast guinea pig), sipping on a cool juice made from tomate de arbol, and meeting heaps of local peeps who can help me get a deeper understanding of this amazing country.
If you want to help me gather research for my new book "Culture Smart! Ecuador" send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
In the meantime, I'll be posting photos and videos and recipes and anything interesting that I stumble across on my travels.