Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Two weeks in Ecuador

Beer tastes better on the road. Even though we've only been drinking domestic Ecuadorean beers. The import tax is so high in this country (which successfully promotes domestic production) that even a Corona costs $6 at most bars. Instead we've been drinking Brahma Grande, Club and Pilsener, all for around $1.50 for 20oz of lite deliciousness.  
Traveling through this country has been very eye-opening as it marks my first visit to South America and seeing how many people live in conditions much different than mine in the US.
Long bus rides unfold displays of living at what I can presume is folks living at likely less than $2 a day. Many houses wouldn't even pass for abandoned shacks in the states. Dogs roam freely, barely surviving the cars, trucks and buses passing each other up hills and around tight curves. Trucks pass by loaded with families. Babies riding shotgun on siblings laps. Entire families sharing a tiny motorcycle to get around town. Yet so many people we encounter are happy and more than content.  Makes me realize how much of consumer-based society we live in in the US. Without our iPhones, iPads, and whatever anyone else "needs," we consider our lives incomplete (Admittedly, I'm currently typing this on my iPad, though when I realized my iPhone was in my pocket playing in some large surf, I didn't sweat it). Just check out Facebook. How many posts in your feed include somebody complaining about their sports team losing, or their phone being lost, or the the traffic on the way to work. Really? If that's what warrants complaints in your life, than stop and realize just how fortunate we are to live in a country where we have access to unlimited clean drinking water.  That alone should put things in perspective. 
We could all (by all I mean many citizens of first world countries) learn something from traveling through countries poorer than ours. We could learn that happiness is an intrinsic thing. Strip away all the perceived necessities and see what kind of happiness you're capable of producing. 
For now, stop and smell the roses. I know I do.