Ecuador’s Inch Filled Manner

“ Every inch a person’s body travels on the road of separation seems like miles to the heart.” (Naguib Mahfouz)

Ordinarily on most of our vacations, I envision distant miles of land that I must traverse to reach a certain destination. Such long term planning, however, often distorts my awareness of those smaller units involving lower speed of movement that come into play when facing such obstacles as elevation change, weather anomalies and the slow crawl of city traffic. So in the case of our recent Ecuador vacation, I noted with interest the obvious effect on my mind and body of slower paced travel through treacherous terrain by bus for up for eight to twelve hours each day.

Consider for instance the uncertainty I felt crawling along those rock strewn roads sometimes unpaved from the lowland coastal environs of Guayaquil at sea level into the foggy cloud forests of the high Andes ranges at over 13,000 feet and then abruptly descending down to vista obscuring tree cover of the vast equatorial jungle. For at such uncertain distance measurement, time seemed to pass slowly for me then resulting in more moment to moment awareness of my immediate  surroundings along the way. So during our steady crawl upward into to this foggy unknown, I might have taken notice of a protruding cliffside tree strand, an indigenous family hovel, or a stranded passenger vehicle along the road, passing by my bus window inch by inch so to speak.

Another notable example in Ecuador of my shrunken perception of distance on this vacation happened during our last stop in Quito, Ecuador. For as we first arrived in Quito, I quickly observed a distinct compressed feel of physical space amidst this densely populated capitol city surrounded on all sides by its steep volcanic bowl setting. How unfortunate it seemed then to me that there existed such lack of usable flat land to develop in the central business district. For such  challenging growth restraints downtown necessitated a haphazard pattern of inaccessible housing units in surrounding suburbs tenuously clinging to the sides of cliffs making commuter traffic flow to and from the city a slow moving chore.

Fortunately, however, I discovered an excellent way for adapting well to the “snail pace” manner of movement during our tour group’s morning walking tour of Quito’s old colonial quarter. Stepping gingerly foot by foot along cobblestone streets, I could take more detailed notice of unusual images on street murals, ornate designs inside and outside of Catholic Cathedrals , traditional Spanish courtyard furnishings and of course the complex array of human activity present that day.

Undoubtedly the most vivid example of my enhanced awareness of small distance on our Ecuador journey took place during a fascinating side trip to the Middle of the World Monument a few miles south of Quito. For with detailed precision in mind, imagine our tour operator guiding us to find zero degrees latitude and furthermore us to step on the very line marking the exact point of hemispheric equator division on earth between north and south. With my prior geographic knowledge in mind, I could then conduct a long sought scientific test of the  “Coriolis Effect”  to prove that taking a few steps north of the line meant counterclockwise rotation while conversely trodding to the south of the line induced clockwise revolution.

So I say goodbye to Ecuador where time resembles more the tortoise than the hare. For I now realize that during the many arduous miles I have traveled in these conditions, I’ve gained more patience to slow down a bit and thus show more capability to hone in inch by inch to study more meticulously my immediate surroundings. Incidentally, my next travel blog series begins at the end of this month as Ruth and I pursue our latest U.S. road trip to California and other favorite spots in the western states Enjoy my latest photos.

2 thoughts on “Ecuador’s Inch Filled Manner

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  1. Such gorgeous photos! I love the different colours of the exteriors of the houses … so much more interesting than what we see here! And street art is one of my favourite things, so naturally I loved those, but all the pictures are beautiful! I’m so glad you had such a wonderful vacation and look forward to your next journey!


  2. Next journey will be on more familiar territory Jill but just as exciting . I always find new places and events to please my curiosity no matter how many times we revisit.


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