What did I learn: ECUADOR

Guayaquil – Source

I feel like I haven’t fully given Ecuador enough of a look, I’ve only barely skimmed the surface. However, I started this month with pretty limited knowledge of the country (Bolivar, the Galapagos, and ceviche, basically) and I’m glad that I’ve gotten to at least a slightly better understanding.

Ecuador has some incredibly talented artistic output – Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda was one of the few horror novels that succeeded at being so deeply disturbing that it genuinely gave me nightmares. Dark, multi-layered plotlines also show up in Ecuadorian films – both My Time Will Come and Ratas, Ratones, Rateros were excellent.

I only got a brief taste of Ecuadorian music, but Pichirilo Radioactivo, Nicolá Cruz, chicha dance mixes, and Daniel Lofredo Rota’s lost tapes all mix traditional Latin and Andean music with modern beats in innovative and fun ways.

As for Ecuador’s history and politics, the Ecuador Reader added a lot of nuance and highlighted the geographic and political divisions in the country. I also learned about serious historical and political issues, like the many wars with Peru, the collapse of Gran Colombia, the perpetual reliance on cash crops, modern overtourism and environmental damage to the Galapaos. However, there were also slightly ridiculous events, like clowns in office, international spats with comedians, and the extreme anti-goat prejudice of Project Isabela.

Ecuadorian cuisine is something I want to keep on exploring. Maiz toastado was really fun to make, and I got to try Ecuadorian produce like naranjillas, guayusa, and tamarillos. A lot of the recipes I went for relied on tart fruit as a flavour profile, including colada de avena, mango ceviche, and fresh aji sauce. There’s lots of other flavour profiles in Ecuadorian food, like chaulafan de pollo, but I love sour flavours, and getting to cook with all this fruit was delicious.

All in all, Ecuador has been a beautiful and interesting country to learn about, and I wish I could have given it a deeper look, especially more into music, wildlife, and Indigenous culture in Ecuador – a month is so limiting!

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