Leaving in four days for Ecuador

How did I decide to go to Ecuador?

banosartwork in lojaLoja

These things grow from an underground swell, whose origin is often unknown.  Here’s what I know: my father traveled in central America extensively and by doing so created in me a land in imagination; dark, jungled, mountainous, adventurous,  I spoke Spanish as a child and would wish to go back to 50′s Mexico, though I know that land no longer exists,  I’ve been painting huge blue/purple/green mountains into all my art projects, I’ve been reading Garcia Marquez, I had an Ecuadorian boyfriend once who sang me those excessively romantic love songs in Spanish accompanied by guitar……so this is a decision to go into my imagination.  And on the practical side, to avoid Iowa winter, to make a space for uninterrupted writing, to be able to live on my small  income, to have an adventure again before I get old or tired.

I was very attracted to  Banos.  That’s the first picture on the left, below.  Because of the Huge green mountains!  But volcanoes are active right now and there is constant chance of evacuation.  I still want to go visit.  I don’t have the funds to travel around looking for the place I want to be, so I’ve done most of it by google images, travel and expat blogs.

Today I’ve settled on Loja, in the south of Ecuador, at elevation 4,000 ft, not far from the famous Vilcabamba in “the valley of longevity.”  Why?  It’s one of the view places I’ve seen interesting and playful public artwork, as in middle picture below.  There’s still mountains, lush greenery, spring weather year around and some expats to chat with.   Its not in the direct flow of a volcano or a tidal wave.  Its smaller than the very popular Cuenca, has fewer expats, has lots of interesting places to visit, clean air, clean water.  It’s an 8 hour bus ride from Peru…there’s an airport.

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