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The Best of Everything en el Ecuador

Juan Carlos Venis

Food: Ask Patrick Murrell and you´ll hear how good Ecuadorian food is. Patrick is now addicted to chifles, a banana chip that can easily be found anywhere in Ecuador. He currently seeks a box to take back home to states. Also, ask any of the other guys who tried the mariscos on the coast last week. They will all testify that despite the fact that their stomachs took a while to get used to a new type of food, they loved trying new things. Thats what this trip has been about...trying new things.

People: The people always carry a smile and greet you nicely. I think thats something each of us learned, to greet eachother with a hug or open handshake. I´ve spent countless hours talking to my host family. They are so kind as to even offer a place to stay when i return to the country...something I am sincerely determined to do. I learned never to hesitate asking an Ecuadorian a question or trying to start a conversation with someone. Everyone is so friendly and eager to listen and converse.

Soccer: It´s like the freaking superbowl everytime a South American country plays in the world cup. Ecuador won the other day and the streets went crazy. I was in Puerto Lopez with the bio group and heard cars honking every time we scored a goal. People were stopping their cars on the side of the road and running into the stores and and restaurants to see the replays. Todos estan unidos. Thats what I love the most about international soccer. People gather and cheer for their team. It´s amazing. ¡Si se puede, Ecuador!

Flora and Fauna: I saw a humpback whale...wait, i saw two. This wasn´t just some view from far away, the huge mammals in migration from the arctic waters were just 30 yards from our boat. Imagine being able to see the details on the fin or the barnacles attached to the whales back. I was scared of such a large creature, but at the same time pretty freaking mystified by its magnificence. The whales where just one thing. Ask me about the plants, birds, butterflies, reptiles, and fish and I could tell you something about them. 1,600 of the 10,000 avian species can be found in el Ecuador. You can imagine how excited Dr. Phillips was. We even seem to have some aspiring birders in our group. The vibrant wildlife of Ecuador really gets a Wabash Biology major excited!