If there’s something foreigners have a hard time understanding about Ecuadorians, it would be some of the country’s colorful habits and obsessions. Whether it is drinking instant coffee really late or watching weird TV shows, Ecuadorians will not let these habits go.
Almuerzo con arroz (lunch with rice)
Lunch (almuerzo) is the most important meal in Ecuador, and the huge meal often serves as dinner as well. Many people get up to two hours break from 1.p.m. at work to eat lunch, which almost always includes rice. In almuerzo restaurants, Diners will even ask “¿Qué hay de arroz hoy?” (“What’s the rice served with today?”)
Weird TV shows
The more entertaining and bizarre the show, the better, and Guayaquil is the crazy TV capital, hosting Calle 7 competitions, in which contestants imitate famous singers or get electroshocked for answering quiz questions wrong.
Instant coffee in the evening
Coffee machine? Forget it. Starbucks? No thanks. Coffee filter? What’s that? Ecuador might produce some of the best coffee in the world, but Ecuadorians swear by their instant Nescafé in the evening, usually with some bread or biscuits. They don’t care if 7p.m. is too late to drink coffee, and some may drink it even later.
Delfin Quishpe is a colorful character who became famous all over Latin America after his hit “Torres Gemelas” (“Twin Towers”), a tribute song about losing his love in the 9/11 attacks that also features an absurd mix of techno and Andean rhythms, as well as Quishpe (over)acting to the tragic scenes. Play Quishpe’s songs at a party, and everyone will sing along, and dance passionately, and get the songs stuck in your head for days.
Laughing at unprepared gringos
Ecuadorians are generally nice and hospitable to visitors and tourists, but that won’t keep them from making fun when they see gringos trekking the Amazon in a thick poncho or hiking a volcano in flip-flops.
Four-wheel-drive isn’t a must, but bigger cars mean better status—which is much more important than getting a parking spot easily or even properly.
Dressing as ‘slutty widows’ for New Years
For New Years—or Año Viejo (Old Year), as it’s called, which is celebrated through December 31—men dress up as ‘slutty widows’ and will stop cars in the middle of the street to beg drivers for money. The longer drivers refrain from giving them some coins, the ‘sluttier’ the men behave. The ‘widows’ may even force drivers out of the car to dance.
Ecuadorians love a good deal, and they love to bargain. Many products, like electronics and international brands, can be quite expensive in Ecuador, so locals look for any opportunity to get something cheaper. On the flipside, sellers at marketplaces, like those in Otavalo, are pros at guilting shoppers (especially tourists) into buying their products at inflated prices.
Dousing each other with water and foam during Carnival
Ecuadorians don’t really dress up for Carnival, but they still have a bit of fun. Weeks in advance, Ecuadorians will buy foam aerosols and randomly spray friends or strangers walking or driving by. Many will also arm themselves with water balloons, even buckets, before starting a neighborhood water fight in the streets.
Ecuador’s geography means that, apart from a dry and a wet season, its warm climate never changes. So seeing snow atop volcanoes or in small mountain towns is as exciting as going to another country for many Ecuadorians.
Beating Peru in sports
While Ecuador and Peru are great allies that will always help each other after disasters like earthquakes, nothing boosts Ecuadorians’ egos more than defeating Peruvians, their main sports rivals. September 2017 marked a bitter loss when Ecuador lost to Peru to qualify for 2018 World Cup, the first time that Ecuador lost a home match to Peru.
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