I had to say Goodbye to Ecuador.
It was really tough.
I was thinking of staying longer, exhausting my entire bank account .. and then starting a Go Fund Me page.... but I wasn't sure how that would go over.
As I make my way back to Canada now, I have compiled a few lists of tips, what I'll miss, what I won't miss...(although I am sure that I will add to it more from here.)
Here they are!
Joanna's tips for visiting Ecuador;
Double and triple check ALL your travel plans - you don't ever want to be responsible for the loss of faith in foreigners.
Bring a pair of pants. Maybe even two. This is extremely important... especially if you are visiting during rainy season.
BRING a rain jacket. If you listen to nothing else, believe me on this one... and try not to lose it!
Touch up on your Spanish.
Always find out how big a pizza is before you order it.
Assume that everything on the menu has cilantro.
Everything comes with rice.
Mantequila translates as 'butter' but what is actually means is that you're getting margarine.
Dont' expect to be able to buy a beach towel in a beach town.
Learn the difference between con gas and sin gas.
Don't be self conscious about your weight or if what you're wearing is a bit too tight - mostly everyone kinda looks like a hooker.... it's true.
Don't touch the dogs or cats... as cute as they can be.
Maybe have some dog treats on hand, in case they get aggressive.
Never trust a toilet!
Buildings don't get finished, everything gets graffitied, power lines are insane... it's just a thing.
Remember that the bus comes with it's share of perks.
Always carry small change and bills. This will avoid you much embarrassment and time wasted while they run from store to store looking to break your bill in to something smaller.
Salsa de Tomate is ketchup, not salsa. And beware that it's used as 'sauce' a lot.
See if you're allergic to Alpaca before you purchase!
Don't bother with the GPS... just ask people on the road.
Find out what boats you can and cannot dance on.
If you're a single woman, traveling alone, get used to the questions.
Watch where you go with your horn... it may not be welcome.
You don't need to cover yourself with a mosquito net to avoid Malaria. I did it.
Try the cuy... let me know how it is!
I will definitely NOT miss;
Travel cankles- although it's hardly fair to blame them on Ecuador!
Bloating... again, this is a travel and an altitude hiccup.
Being ripped off, or at least the constant attempt.
The rain... without a jacket (see above tips!)
Forgetting to have toilet paper on hand.
Remembering to throw the toilet paper in the bin.
Heat rashes / Sun burns / Blisters / Peeling.
Sharks & crocodiles.
Bugs & bug bites.
Sticking to plastic tablecloths on hot days.
Random people spitting in the street.
Men with their bellies hanging out in the heat.
Driving! (and a sore bum!)
Continuously checking my purse- wallet, passport, phone...
Sand in my bed.
The fear of lice.
Struggling with public transportation.
I say that I will not miss these questions, but come to think of it, maybe I will...
Why don't you eat more?
How did you get so tall?
Why are you so big?
Where is your husband?
Why isn't your husband with you?
When are you getting married?
Why don't you have a boyfriend?
Aren't you scared?
Why don't you want children?
Things I WILL miss;
Ecuadorian time. Hurry up & wait... it's all good.
Pan de yuca
Plantians - patecon, chiffle, madura...
Yellow and pink toilets.
Every day is a new adventure.
Days when Spanish words would just come back to me, out of the blue!
Sitting there and understanding a full conversation in Spanish.
My new friends.
The beautiful beaches.
Silly questions & silly answers.
NO Diet Coke - forced me to drink water all the time.
The love that Ecuadorians have for their country.
The beautiful people... so kind-hearted and always helpful.
The fantastic Muentes Familia... my Ecuadorian family- treated me like gold and after 26 years, it was like we didn't miss a beat.... Unparalleled hospitality. I just wish that Papi could have been there. RIP...
Thank you to everyone that helped make my adventure special & incredible. And to everyone in Ecuador that always asked me, "When are you coming back?"
.... as soon as I can. Until next time...