Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lifetime Friendships Through Travel----Ecuador

R1- 2A

Quito, Ecuador

As a traveler (not a tourist), I prefer to stay away from tourist attractions and be among the everyday people of the places I visit. This, in my opinion, is the best way to experience the real culture; particularly if you want to master the language. In my case, the language is Spanish.

Years ago, I was astonished to learn from an article I read that there are more black Latinos in the Americas than there are black gringos. What surprises me to the point of frustration is that too many Latinos I meet, from New York to California, do not know about the blacks in their own communities who speak Spanish as their first language. What a shame as they, of all people, should know better.

One thing I love about Facebook is the people I meet who can help make my travels more enjoyable. It was on my separate Spanish Facebook account where I met Alexandra, an Afro-Ecuadorian woman who lives in Germany with her husband and two children. Alexandra noticed a Facebook update expressing my desire to visit Ecuador being that I'm a fan of Ecuador's soccer team, which made an impressive showing in the 2006 World Cup Games.

Gloria of Quito Ecuador
After a few months of conversation and trust-building, she introduced me to her mother Gloria who invited me to her home, showed me around Quito, Ecuador and took me the equator where I had my photo taken with one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other foot in the southern hemisphere (photo below). It was Gloria who introduced me to the panama hat of which I received so many compliments upon my return to the USA, I bought four more panama hats of different styles on my next trip to Ecuador.


  1. I definitely made some great friendships over the course of my time in Ecuador--Afrodescendientes, mestizos e indĂ­genas. Like you, I distinguish between the traveler vs. tourist mindset. It seems that the former is much more suitable for meaningful, respectful immersion that leads to quality relationships.


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