Ecuador 2010

We just got back from Ecuador.  My intent for true “retirement” travel is to post frequently regarding travel experience and photos.  However, for now, I’ll be giving a summary and then look to post specific topics from the trip over the coming few days.

Our bottom line takeaway from our brief introduction to Ecuador is that it is a fascinating country with tremendous natural beauty and resources.  For this trip we were only able to visit Guayaquil, take a day trip to Salinas and spend some time in Cuenca.  While we’re not ready to submit our change of address request, we definitely want to return to sample more of what this diverse country has to offer.

Make no mistake, Ecuador is a third world/developing country and economy.  It has rough spots and lacks many of the conveniences and niceties that we take for granted here in the US.  Yet, that can be viewed as appealing in some ways.  There are not gigantic super markets, yet there are readily available local markets with a dazzling array of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as locally produced items like clothing, shoes and textiles.

You know all those things we do in the US to protect our citizens from their own stupidity?  You know, for example, if there’s some hazard in the roadway that cannot be quickly corrected, we set up barricades, flashing lights, perhaps a flagman or 2 and possibly a bypass.  None of that in Ecuador.  There was considerable roadwork on the road between Guayaquil and Cuenca, a mountain road through some breathtaking scenery.  In many places on a two lane section of the road, one lane would be the old surface and the other lane would be a new concrete surface that was in use.  This new four inch high surface has steel rods running through it that extend out perhaps 3 or 4 inches towards the old as yet not upgraded lane.  Was there a barricade between the two lanes?  Were there flagmen and warning lights or warning signs?  No.  You can clearly see the steel rods extending from the new surface.  If you should not be paying attention and drive into them, you would shred your tires.  Now I don’t know the legal system in Ecuador, but I suspect that if you did shred your tires there would be no lawsuit.  You will simply need to replace your tires…at your own expense.  Is this so unreasonable?  I think not.  In the US, we have had to legislate so many “consumer protections” and instituted many costly practices specifically to avoid liability lawsuits.  In Ecuador, if you want to stand on the back bumper of a truck while it is moving and you fall off and get hurt, well, that’s too bad.  Surely you knew that could happen.  It’s my opinion that this is a rational approach.

In the coming days, I’ll hit some of the highlights with a little more detail.  For now, here’s a view Barrio Las Penas, a very colorful neighborhood on a hill above the city of Guayaquil.

Barrio Las Penas seen from the Malecon

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