Pushing into Peru
Thanks for the food, fun, and fiestas, Ecuador, some of the best I've encountered.
Ecuadorians seem to have a serious sweet tooth, and Cuenca is an excellent example. A bakery on every city block selling sweets and sugar-coated bread; cotton candy vendors at the corners; and more ice cream shops that I could count (it's freezing outside, what the hell are you people doing eating ice cream?). Admittedly though, I did really enjoy the glass of sugar water in Otavalo that came directly from a large piece of raw sugarcane (that looked like thick bamboo)—fed into a wooden press, strained, and served to me.
I've seen this before. Countless acres of sugarcane crops in Belize have left the populous with a big sugar habit—diabetes is a real problem there. Thank goodness for all the Ecuadorian corn (to help balance the diet out).
On a recent chilly evening I sat and savored a wonderful glass of thick, hot milk, cinnamon, and… corn—delicious.
A La Orden…
I've encountered this phrase ever since I arrived in Colombia, and love it. Colombian and Ecuadorian vendors and shop owners use a la orden (at your service) to greet you and say you're welcome (instead of de nada). Countries in Central America are missing out—this pleasant, friendly expression should be the norm. I use it myself.
Sampling South America
Nothing held my attention in the city of Cuenca (except the absolutely massive cathedral next to Parque Calderón), and I have a feeling that I'll find myself in Peru by the start of the weekend. I'm ready for my next course—my next country—in the grand South American feast.
Fellow travelers headed south ahead of me, my scouts, have reported back—the beach in town of Máncora is warm and sunny. I think I'm going to play doctor and write myself a prescription for a lack of clothing and some brown skin.
I have no doubt that I'll return to Ecuador one of these days—there's still plenty to see, do, and learn about this friendly country.
…Now about that beach.