There's a reason God put it in the middle

…because there’s not a more exciting plot of land in the world!

I had always heard that Ecuador was an up-and-coming hot spot for tourism, given its richness in both biodiversity and culture. But like every distant place one hears about on the internet or in guide books, one can’t be absolutely convinced until she sees it for herself. And trust me, I have YET to see the variety of land, weather, and peoples that occupy this tiny country, but from the few places I’ve been exposed to (just in and around Quito for heavens sakes) I have stumbled upon a plethora of weather, land, and peoples.

In the 20-minute bus ride that takes me to my University in Cumbayá, a suburb of Quito, we drive into a valley of much lower altitude. The city smog disappears and the sky becomes bright blue, the sun is persistent (while in Quito it may rain for an hour or two) and the temperature raises 5-10 degrees! And just miles past Cumbayá, you leave the dry, almost austere land that surrounds Quito and cross over into green, green pastures, peppered with cows, chickens and pigs. (I had the opportunity to watch these drastic changes in tierra on the two nearby outings I made to Quinche and Otavalo. The landscapes are impressive.)

It’s virutally impossible to get bored here. The weather is ever-changing, people-watching is endlessly fascinating (you’ve got your Americanized Ecuadorian teen, any one of the 14 tribes of indigenous peoples – all wearing their distinct ropa, your afro-ecuatorianos, your gringos), not to mention the land changes from one suburb to the next. And on top of all this, I have the historical colonial center city at my fingertips!

This is the richness I’m confronted with on a daily basis! And just think – I have yet to see the cloud-forests, the Amazon, the coast, the snow-covered mountains, the volcanic spring pueblos, the Galápagos! And all of these places can be reached in anywhere between 1 and 10 hours by bus. At this point I must ask myself, “Can life get any better?”

I think not.

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