I leave Ecuador tomorrow evening for Peru. I have spent almost two months in Ecuador, while it has its charms, I think I liked Colombia much better. Other people I have talked to say the same thing. People in Ecuador are more distant, mostly polite, and with few exceptions, it is rare to be invited to someone’s house.
While nearly everyone seems to have a pet (usually a dog) they do not seem to take good care of it. Or at least not to American standards. I saw a paralyzed dog wearing a diaper using only its front paws to walk in one city. If someone cared enough about the dog to put it in a diaper and change the diaper wouldn’t you think they would also care about its well being and take it to a vet? People routinely hit and throw things at dogs without reason, and no one seems to have heard of spaying of neutering the animals. All of which is sad to me. There are also so many street animals that sometimes it is hard to watch.
Ecuador has amazing natural resources–plants, animals, ecosystems not seen anywhere else in the world. Yet they don’t seem to care about them. I think some efforts are being made [eco-transport in Quito, SocioBosque on the coast, preservation of the Galapagos], but it is clearly not enough. And that is sad…
sea lions on the Galapagos Islands
My favourite cities in Ecuador are Puerto Lopez (by the beach), Cuenca (3rd largest city in Ecuador), and Loja. I think if you were to take Greenville and move it to South America, it would be Loja. It has a river that runs through it, it is surrounded by mountains. They focus a lot on keeping the city clean (unlike many cities), and they have free entertainment on Thursdays and Fridays downtown. And also this is the first place that I have seen more than one (or one at all) animal doctors. People seem to treat their pets a lot nicer here than in other parts of Ecuador.
Loja main square
I had some amazing experiences in Ecuador. Cataloguing orchids, creating educational things for kids for the education center, visiting the Amazon, climbing a volcano–and sliding down one, and let’s not forget, tagging turtles on the Galapagos Islands are all some of the amazing things I did while in Ecuador. Ecuador is an amazing place, but it could be so much more amazing. It has some of the most diverse ecosystems and landscapes imaginable, but some of the attitudes need to change [attitudes towards animals, littering, and education for starters].
You know I’d find the only pet cat in the entire country…a cute orange tabby.