Started my Latin American journeys here in August so it´s a bit of a homecoming. It was pretty cool to get off the plane, be the first one out since I didn´t check a bag, and then walk with a sense of purpose right through all the people trying to sell you stuff...able to do this since I know the area obviously. I´m staying with the same mother and son that I stayed with before. They´re really cool and never tire of telling me how much they like having me here...I must just be a helluva guy...lol.
Anyway, I do have a bit more perspective now than I had before. Ecuador is definitely a poor country. Probably not as poor as Peru but poor. The other countries I´ve visited down here (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, and C0lombia) certainly had better infrastructure and less begging. But I have to say the people here and in Peru are very nice. Definitely my favorites would be the Colombians, Peruvians, and Ecuadorians. I´m still amazed at how nice Bogota was...definitely my favorite city I´ve seen down here so far. The kidnappings and security issues, or shall I say the perception of kidnappings and insecurity since these problems have largely been solved, must be costing Colombia billions in tourism because that is one beautiful country.
The other day I heard Chile described on NPR as a third-world country, which to me is absolutely ridiculous. Chile is a very clean, developed nation full of educated people. Anything but third-world. To me, when you can´t drink the water from the tap (Peru, Ecuador) and/or you have to throw your toilet paper in a receptacle rather than flush it (Peru, Ecuador oftentimes, and some places in Argentina) then you´re in a third-world country. Argentina is not 3rd-world either in my view...although the economy has had it´s problems.
Anyway, back to Quito...well, not doing much here other than tooling about. Went to the embassy to get more pages sown into my passport (a silly sense of achievement it is to completely fill a passport with stamps), but they inf0rmed me they only do that Monday-Thursday...I thought, ´damn, just because the embassy is in Latin America doesn´t mean we have to work (or not) like the locals....´ Wish I would´ve argued with them about it and not taken no for an answer but I tend to be less inclined to argue in Spanish. Oh well.
I´ll take the bus down to Peru Saturday night to meet up with a friend and do some surfing in Mancora.
You´ll see Mancora not too far over the border...the map is zoomable if you click on the lower right corner.