The difference between Cuenca and the rest of Ecuador

Most foreigners who move to Ecuador, move straight to Cuenca.

It’s a nice place, but it’s actually quite similar to most of the other colonial mountain towns in Ecuador.

So what’s different about Cuenca to me as an occasional visitor?

The variety and quality of cuisine options from all around the world.

World-class chefs from all over with hole in the wall eateries abound.

Compared to the rest of Ecuador, even Quito, the (good) food options are usually limited to the beans, plantains and rice and your choice of dead animal.

I’m not complaining, I love Ecuador food. But if you get the itch, I’d say try Cuenca.

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The first 10 things gringos notice in Ecuador

 

“T.I.E. This. is. Ecuador.”  I find myself often telling my brother (from the USA) who is currently visiting Ecuador for the first time.

The things he initially notices crack me up when I’m just used to it being here a few years now.

Here were a few things he noticed first in Ecuador, and found strange…

1. Grass growing on power lines in Ecuador.  Unexplainable.

2. Ghetto glass.  Or broken bottles cemented into the tops of property walls to prevent break ins.  Interesting idea.

3. Whole extended families on motorcycles.  Slightly illegal in the USA, he found it strange the sight of a father, mother and two kids and the family dog on one motorcycle in Ecuador.

4. Street dogs humping in the street.  A common part of any Ecuador landscape. This one he found particularly hilarious.

5. Random cars with police-colored strobe lights.  Not exactly legal in USA.

6. Pissing in Public.  The ease with which male Ecuadorians pull up in public was impressive to him.

7. Cars parked on sidewalks making the pedestrians walk in the street.  A common sight in Ecuador.

8.  How close the buses whiz by you when biking on the road in Ecuador, literally they pass just inches away.  This one made him flinch.

9. Cars pulling other broken-down cars with a rope.  Not precisely legal in the USA yet a common sight in Ecuador.

10. No windows (or TP) or any ventilation of any kind in many gas station bathrooms in Ecuador.  The hot, humid stench of one particularly on the coast will make you want to shower right then and there.

T.I.E.

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The Wrong Way To Close A Sale In Ecuador

“You did what?” I asked surprised at my new American friend who told me he just agreed to sell his car to an Ecuadorian girl.

He’s turning down dozens of people calling on his car every day (a car in high demand in Ecuador) because he already agreed with a handshake to sell and was planning on meeting her in a few days. No money exchanged.

“Naw! Man.” I responded.

Maybe that’s how you do business in North America, but that doesn’t work down here.

The first person to pay you in full for the car, get’s the car, that simple. Don’t be holding it for people!

Down here, if there isn’t at least a deposit paid, you got nothing, man!

Words are just hot air.

Handshakes are worse.

Checks are the equivalent of toilet paper, (seriously!) at least, when you don’t know the buyer in a deal like this one.

Particularly, when selling something in high demand down here like a car, if someone asks if they can pay in installments or whatever, tell ’em to f— off, you’re not a bank.

Cash in hand or deposited in bank account… then goods released.

That’s how you do business down here.

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