Huaquillas Ecuador – right on the border with Peru

Español AQUI NO es una traducción humana!

Content: Varadero Seafood RestaurantL’Moned HotelLa Habana Hotel and Restaurant

If you live in Loja, enjoy the sea and want to put your feet in the water without going too far, Jambeli is your best option.

Jambeli is actually not just an island, it is an archipelago, meaning it is a group of islands, just like the world famous Galapagos. One of the islands is also called Jambeli and that is where most tourists go. We have already published some information about the island of Jambeli on HERE.

However Jambeli is not the only island on the archipelago. This time I decided to take a look at Costa Rica which I had heard was also quite beautiful. While Jambeli is easily accessed from Machala, to access Costa Rica one best option is to go to Huaquillas. Below is an orientation map

Huaquillas Costa Rica Jambeli Ecuador
Huaquillas Costa Rica Jambeli Ecuador

Going to Huaquillas from Loja is easy by bus. I happen to be in Guayaquil, so I went straight from Guayaquil to Huaquillas. This took about 5 hours if I remember correctly.

Once in Huaquillas, all it takes is a short taxi ride to Puerto Hualtaco (I did it for $1 in a moto taxi, it is more fun).

huaquillas moto taxi

And then take a boat to Costa Rica.

Well that was the plan anyway. There is just, I found out, a small problem. There ain’t no boat ! I was expecting something like Puerto Bolivar from where every hour a boat takes tourists to the island for $2 a head. Not so in Puerto Hualtaco. There is no such service. I was told that if you want to go to the island you have to charter one boat for the day which is what people do. They come in groups of 10 or more, pay something like $5 per person and spend the day. For one single person it is however not economical to pay $50 for a passage.

So I was stranded.

A bad situation in my opinion can most often than not be turned into a good or at least decent one if you have a bit of patience and some social skills. Ecuador is a brilliant country for that. My slogan would be “In Ecuador expect the unexpected”. I looked around and saw a nice looking place called Varadero, right on the port.

Varadero Puerto - Puerto Hualtaco - Huaquillas Ecuador
Varadero Puerto – Puerto Hualtaco – Huaquillas Ecuador
Varadero Puerto – Huaquillas – Fantastic seafood

It was about 11 AM, the owner was present and I introduced myself. I explained that I was interested in tourism and wanted to find a way to go to Costa Rica. His name is Dalton Otero and he is a very nice man. We ended up spending two hours together and I ended up eating some of the best seafood I had in Ecuador.

Dalton Otero - Varadero Puerto - Huaquillas
Dalton Otero – Varadero Puerto
Varadero Puerto - Puerto Hualtaco - Huaquillas Ecuador
Conversing with Dalton about life in Hualtaco

He offered me some coffee which was excellent, strong the way I like it, and with this, some delicious appetizer. These were cups made out of platano verde  stuffed with mushrooms in a garlic sauce.


Varadero Puerto - Puerto Hualtaco - Huaquillas Ecuador

His restaurant is quite stunning I must say, made out of a tasteful combination of bricks, stones, bamboo and straw, all open space and very bright. People can sit and enjoy watching the mangrove.

Varadero Puerto - By the mangrove
Assuming they can leave their phones

Well, assuming that they can put their phones away…

A couple from Guayaquil arrived while I was chatting with Dalton. They drove all the way from Guayaquil only to have lunch and then go back. That is about 5 hour drive each way. Impressive.

Varadero Puerto - Puerto Hualtaco - Huaquillas Ecuador

The food is equally impressive, simple, nothing complicated but all excellent and fresh. Below is a new creation of Dalton’s: raw fish in a sauce, avocado, olives.

Varadero Puerto - Simple and delicious
Varadero Puerto – Simple and delicious
Going to Costa Rica island

The president of the gobierno parroquial of Jambeli dropped by and joined us. He lives on the island and was just about to go back so he invited me to join him and also to stay on the island for the night. Just what I said earlier, a little bit of patience and things turn around. Not only did I get a delicious meal (for free, thank you Dalton) but now I was invited on a private tour by someone who knows the place in and out.

Miguel Cruz - Presidente del gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado Parroquial Rural del archipiélago Jambelí
Miguel Cruz – Presidente del gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado Parroquial Rural del archipiélago Jambelí

What happened next deserves an other article, so I shall leave Costa Rica for a little later. It was most interesting and Miguel is a very nice man indeed. I met his family and talked to several people on the island. All were warm, courteous and generous people. More on Costa Rica later.

For now and to finish this article, let’s go back to Huaquillas, where it all started. It is important because a person who wants to visit Costa Rica will most likely stay in Huaquillas at least for one night.

Staying and eating in Huaquillas

When I arrived in Huaquillas by bus from Guayaquil, my first thought was “Pierre, what have you done to yourself again?“. The place is not pretty by any standard, just one of the many concrete jungle towns that abound in Ecuador, even more so on the coast. Below is a typical street view.

Huaquillas Ecuador Street View
Huaquillas Ecuador – Street View

I was getting worried about finding some decent accommodation. The place was quite noisy, it was getting late, I was tired and had heavy bags and I did not want to run around town too much. I asked a moto taxi driver for a quiet place, meaning without a bar, a disco or something similar next door. He indicated me a hotel 100m from the Loja International bus terminal and that is where I stayed

Hotel L’Moned – Huaquillas

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador
A simple, modern and clean hotel in Huaquillas

This hotel is basic, modern and clean. Rooms have hot water (and it works), Flat screen TV, good wifi, a small fridge. It is only a short stroll from the Loja International terminal, no need for a taxi.

What I liked most is that the hotel is not noisy because it is not right in the center and that the rooms have a modern almost completely silent air conditioning system. Most often than not one has the choice between not sleeping because it is too hot or not sleeping because the airco is too noisy.

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador

Prices are reasonable at $22.80 per person not including breakfast (at the time of this writing Nov 2016).

One can see the Peruvian border from the hotel window. It is only a few hundred meters away.

Huaquillas Ecuador - Peru
Huaquillas Ecuador – right on the border with Peru

The lady at the reception is Peruvian and was friendly and helpful. She gave me some tips about going for a stroll in Peru, which is something that I wanted to do.

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador
Chatting about Peru

Going to Peru is just a matter of walking 10 minutes down the street and crossing a bridge. The place is absolutely packed. There is police but no border control. People just walk back and forth between the two countries. You can pay in dollars or you can change your dollars if you prefer.

Huaquillas Ecuador - Peru
Going to Peru

You can buy clothes and shoes and alcohol. Clothes are supposedly cheaper in Peru. However I must say that all the T-shirts that I bought in Peru a few years ago are completely disintegrated today. So you have to be wary of the quality you get for your money.

Huaquillas Ecuador - Peru
I understood why they call Loja “an ecological city”.

Crossing the bridge to Peru, I had a look at the “river” and it was filthy. I understood why they call Loja an “ecological city”. It is all relative I guess.

Huaquillas Ecuador - Peru
The border between Ecuador and Peru in Huaquillas

The white herons did not seem to bother. They seem to like it dirty.

Where to eat in Huaquillas

I would definitely recommend going to Port Hualtaco to try the Varadero’s seafood. It is only a dollar away by moto taxi. See our comments above about the Varadero.

Hotel La Habana - Huaquillas Ecuador
Hotel Restaurant La Habana – Huaquillas Ecuador

However, if you want to stay in Huaquillas, I had a nice and inexpensive meal at hotel La Habana on the central square.

The hotel is nice, a little more expensive than the L’Moned, I would say one category up. I have not tried it so I won’t comment. I only tried the food and it was excellent and quickly served.


Hotel La Habana - Huaquillas Ecuador
La Habana friendly staff
Hotel La Habana - Huaquillas Ecuador
Hotel La Habana – Huaquillas Ecuador


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QI Esencial – Oriental and Bioenergetic Therapies in Loja Ecuador

us English versiones
Español AQUI
Pierre Volter


Part 1 : Introduction – Acupuncture – Cupping

There are things in life that neither have a beginning nor an end. Trying to find some straight line is a waste of time and energy. This is what I felt when facing that blank page on which I was going to relate to our readers what we encountered at QI Esencial. I did not know where to start.

The word HOLISTIC came to my mind because soon after entering into this beautifully decorated space in the center of Loja, it becomes obvious that in this center, people look at health as a complete mind-body-spirituality thing. They don’t just provide “treatments”. It is about healing in the deep sense of the word.

QI Esencial - Orinental Therapies
The colors, the light, the Chinese paintings on the wall …

WHEN  I opened    the QI Esencial front door on this busy street of Loja (10 de Agosto), there was that beautiful smell, the colors, the light, the background music, the Chinese paintings on the wall,  the bamboo on the ceiling.

Clearly one feels entering another dimension, a dimension of peace and tranquility.






Leonardo Miguel Luzuriaga León
Leonardo Miguel Luzuriaga León

THEN   there is the incredibly charismatic  personality of the health center owner: Leonardo (Leonardo Miguel Luzuriaga Leon is his full name).

How do we begin describing him?

Gentle, soft-spoken, intelligent, calm and energetic at the same time, definitely passionate, experienced and wise, multi-faceted, extremely skinny are just a few words that come to my mind. Leonardo studied oriental medicine in Brazil with a Korean maestro.



Leonardo studied oriental medicine in Brazil
Leonardo studied oriental medicine in Brazil

WHILE UNDERTAKING    an acupuncture or cupping session, listening to Leonardo is a rich part of the experience. He will share with you his extensive knowledge of all things oriental, will enlighten and possibly amuse you with some Chinese parable, will tell you if you like about one of his favorite subject “the multi-orgasmic man”, about how people’s mental state deeply affect their physical health and how to let things in your life flow to achieve a better state of happiness.

What he won’t do is tell you what to do or give you a pill to cure the ailment that brings you there or even try to sell you some expensive supplement. His favorite phrase is to say: “simply take from what I say what you feel is right for you, no less and no more. As a patient you can then feel that he genuinely does not care whether you believe it all or not, whether you are going to do what he recommends or some part of it or not much at all. This way you can relax, be yourself, take what you want, leave the rest and feel absolutely no guilt. Quite different from a typical visit to the doctor I must admit.

Listening to Leonardo
Simply take from what I say what you feel is right for you

This total lack of pressure, this openness is something that makes you want to stay and come back. Not that you will necessarily need to go back either and that is OK by him. He confided that his main “problem” (if this could be called a problem) is that the treatments are so effective that often people don’t come back. He said that his Korean master used to treat 80 patients per day and then to “relax” he used to go to his other job which involved carrying 50kg sacs of coffee on his shoulders. He was a martial art penta champion which Leonardo said in Korea is something extremely serious and demanding. “It is quite complex. The training starts from a very early age. It is like being a basketball champion in the US or a soccer champion in Brazil


QI Esencial - Oriental Therapies on Loja Ecuador - Acupuncture
QI Esencial – Oriental Therapies on Loja Ecuador – Acupuncture

Obviously when referring to oriental medicine, the name acupuncture comes to mind first. This is one of Leonardo’s specialties. He has learned it not from some academic place but through years of living with his Korean master in Brazil.

A Korean acupuncturist inserting a needle into a leg
A Korean acupuncturist inserting a needle into a leg

I watched the session he gave to my wife Martha. He looked very concentrated, always observing the patient with deep attention.

Always observing the patient with deep attention
Always observing the patient with deep attention

Never hesitated with a needle. Some time they can hurt. This happens when the flow of energy is interrupted or disturbed in some part of the body. The purpose of acupuncture is to help restore the normal flow of energy along the meridians (well that is my no doubt oversimplified explanation of it).

QI Esencial - Oriental Therapies on Loja Ecuador - Acupuncture

There was one needle in particular that really bothered her in her left foot. No worries, after a little while, Leonardo took it off when the pain was too strong. One has to take time and allow the body to react. Things cannot always be achieved in one session.

In the following session she was more relaxed and instead of pain the needles were giving her tickles.

Qigong (Chi kung)


Qigong (Chi Kung)

Qigong (also spelled Ch’i Kung) is a powerful system of healing and energy medicine from China. It is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate the life energy (qi).

During the acupuncture session when the patient is peaceful an relaxed Leonardo moved around quietly and performs qigong movements to help circulate the energy in the  body.

I hadn’t heard the term Chi Kung before but I had attended some Tai Chi clases in New Zealand and it was very relaxing. Here is what they say on this infomative web site

Taiji Quan is a style of Qigong. It is graceful, relaxed, slow, and fluid, like a slow- motion dance. Unlike some Qigong methods that exercise specific systems or parts of the body– nervous system, endocrine system, heart, kidneys– Taiji Quan is a whole body, whole mind exercise. It treats health systemically, restoring the body to its original “program”, uncorrupted by stress, pollution, and disease. The Qigong Research & Practice Center offers training in all aspects and levels of Taiji Quan.

The true cause of disease – Somatizing

The key to really curing any disease is to understand the true cause of it. This is where the so-called “conventional” medicine fails miserably. This medicine only treats symptoms and more often than not is not even interested in the true causes of any disease. There is no time for that.

I asked Leonardo what he believed was in most cases the true cause of his patients’ health problems. He said that in most cases people somatize their mental problems. These can be from the plain vanilla every day variety of stress and anxiety for example all the way to some deep disorder that may stem from a past traumatic event or even from childhood. Somatizing means that when the mind has no way to “express” what it feels, it passes the dis-ease to the body. Then one gets an infection, some back pain, gastritis, migraines, you name it.

Addressing this situation with some pill of course does not really solve anything. Even addressing the problem with natural therapies is not the answer. A nice baño de cajon or a massage or a liver detox are certainly good things but when the root cause of a person’s disease is located in the unconscious or subconscious, these forms of natural medicine are also just treating  the symptoms rather than the cause albeit in a less dangerous and toxic way.

Cupping therapy

is another type of therapy that Leonardo provides at QI Esencial.

QI Esencial Loja - Cupping Therapy
QI Esencial Loja – Cupping Therapy

Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on your skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.

Relatively unknown to most people living in the West until recently, cupping therapy is an alternative therapeutic method that has been popular in China since around 1000 B.C. Some records show that variations of cupping practices might actually be much older — possibly dating as far back as 3000 B.C.

An excellent summary of what cupping is about can be found in this article HERE

QI Esencial Loja Ecuador - Cupping Therapy

At the end of the day

We found that we left the center on that first day of acupuncture and cupping having made a new friend in Leonardo and looking forward to our next session which we will relate in one or more future article(s).

One thing that struck me is how relaxed my better half looked at the end of her session. I invited her and Leonardo to a photo session and they obliged.

Leonardo and her happy patient Martha after the session
Leonardo and her happy patient Martha after the session

Leonardo and her happy patient Martha after the session


QI Esencial in Loja Ecuador is a very special place indeed where you will feel good, relaxed and well attended. They provide holistic treatments which means that they work on the entire body including the mind and not just on the specific illness that brings you there.

QI Esencial - Oriental and Bioenergetic Therapies in Loja Ecuador
QI Esencial – Oriental and Bioenergetic Therapies in Loja Ecuador


Address: 10 de Agosto entre Juan José Peña y 24 de Mayo en el Edificio Plaza Murano

Tel: 07 – 2574907

Web site:

qi esencial loja ecuador

QI Esencial – Oriental and Bioenergetic Therapies in Loja Ecuador

Tags: acupuncture, oriental medicine, cupping therapy, chi kung, qigong, bio magnetism, essential oils, aromatherapy, massages, spa, cosmetology.


Do you wish to comment or share some experience? Please leave your message in the section below. You can also contact us through our web page here.

Subscribe to our newsletter

If you wish to be informed about what goes on at and receive quality information about Vilcabamba, the city of Loja and the entire Loja province in Ecuador, please do subscribe here.

© 2016
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QI Esencial – Medicina Oriental y Bioenergética en Loja Ecuador

es Versión Español us
English HERE 
Por Pierre Volter
Y Martha Jaramillo

Parte 1 – Introducción Acupuntura y Cupping

Hay cosas en la vida que no tienen principio ni fin. Tratar de encontrar alguna línea recta es una pérdida de tiempo y energía. Esto es lo que sentí mirando esta página en blanco en la cual iba a relatar a mis lectores lo que encontré en el centro de medicina oriental QI Esencial. No sabía por dónde empezar.

De pronto la palabra “HOLÍSTICO” me vino a la mente, porque poco después de entrar en este espacio muy bien decorado con lindos colores en el centro de Loja, se hace evidente que en este centro, los terapeutas consideran a la salud en forma integral mente-cuerpo-espiritualidad. Ellos no ofrecen solamente “tratamientos”. Se trata de la curación en el amplio sentido de la palabra.

QI Esencial - Terapias Orinental
Los colores, la luz, las pinturas chinas en la pared …

Cuando abrí la puerta de entrada en QI Esencial en esta concurrida calle de Loja (10 de Agosto), sorpresa es lo que sentí : una exquisita fragancia, lindos colores, una luz relajante, una suave música de fondo, observe lindas pinturas chinas en la pared y una sutil decoración de bambú en el techo.

Indudablemente uno siente estar entrando en otra dimensión, una dimensión de paz y tranquilidad, un mundo donde no hay ni inicio ni final, mas bien círculos y capas de energía positiva.

Estamos en Oriente.

Leonardo Miguel Luzuriaga León
Leonardo Miguel Luzuriaga León

LUEGO existe la personalidad increíblemente carismática del propietario del centro:

(Leonardo Miguel Luzuriaga León es su nombre completo).

¿Cómo empezar a describirlo?

Personalidad suave, de voz dulce, inteligente, tranquilo y al mismo tiempo lleno de energía positiva, sin duda apasionado, experimentado y sabio, de múltiples facetas, bastante delgado son unas pocas palabras que me vienen a la mente. Leonardo estudió medicina oriental en Brasil con un maestro coreano.

Leonardo estudió medicina oriental en Brasil
Leonardo estudió medicina oriental en Brasil

Durante una sesión de acupuntura o de cupping, escuchar a Leonardo es una parte importante y rica en experiencia . Él te compartirá sin reserva su amplio conocimiento de todas las cosas orientales, te contará una linda parábola china, o si es de tu agrado te hablará sobre uno de sus temas favoritos “el hombre multi-orgásmico”, acerca de cómo el estado mental de las personas afecta profundamente a su salud física y la forma de dejar que las cosas fluyan en tu vida para lograr un mejor estado de felicidad.

El no te dará una pastilla para “curar” la dolencia que estas sintiendo en ese momento y que te ha llevado hasta allí y tampoco te va a imponer algo que no estés dispuesto a hacer ni tampoco tratará de venderte algún suplemento costoso. Su frase favorita es: ” simplemente toma de lo que digo lo que creas que es correcto para ti , nada más y nada menos. Como paciente tu puedes sentir que realmente no le importa si le crees todo o no, si vas a seguir todas sus recomendaciones o solamente una parte de ellas o nada en absoluto. De esta manera uno se puede relajar, ser uno mismo, tomar lo que desea y dejar lo que no sea necesario y sentirse absolutamente sin ninguna culpa. Eso es muy diferente de una visita típica al médico debo admitir.

Escuchar a Leonardo
Simplemente toma de lo que digo lo que creas que es correcto para ti

Esta falta total de presión, esta apertura es algo que hace que uno desee quedarse y regresar. No es que necesariamente tienes que regresar. Él me reveló que su principal “problema” (si es que a esto se le pueda llamar un problema) es que los tratamientos son tan eficaces que a menudo la gente no regresa. Me comentó que su maestro coreano trataba a 80  pacientes por día y luego para “descansar”, solía ir a realizar otro tipo de trabajo que implicaba llevar quintales de café en sus hombros. Él era un pentacampeón de artes marciales, además añadió Leonardo, lo que en Corea es algo extraordinario que no cualquiera pueda llegar a alcanzar. “Es algo muy complejo. La formación en Corea se hace desde muy pequeño. Seria como ser campeón de basketball en los Estados Unidos o de fútbol en Brasil.

QI Esencial - Terapias orientales en Loja Ecuador - La acupuntura
QI Esencial – Terapias orientales en Loja Ecuador – La acupuntura

Obviamente, cuando nos referimos a la medicina oriental, el nombre acupuntura es lo primero que se nos viene a la mente. Esta es una de las especialidades de Leonardo. Su conocimiento no viene solamente desde algún lugar académico sino a través de años de vivencia con su maestro coreano en Brasil y también en Ecuador.

Un acupunturista coreana insertando una aguja en una pierna
Un acupunturista coreana insertando una aguja en la pierna

Estuve presente durante una sesión de acupuntura que le dio a mi esposa Martha. Inicialmente busca los puntos exactos donde cree esta estancada la energía. Posteriormente con la ayuda de un par de campanitas que al chocarlas entre si te dan un sonido muy simpático y a su ves con su voz muy suave te ira ayudando a relajarte y a poner tu mente en blanco.

Se lo veía muy concentrado, siempre observando al paciente con profunda atención. Una vez relajado el paciente Leonardo procede a introducir las agujas y explica que en los puntos donde sienta mucho dolor es por que existe mayor estancamiento de energía, mayor estancamiento del flujo vital. existen puntos que ayudan a liberar conflictos de la mente y a su vez despiertan los sentidos.

En ningún momento titubeó con una aguja.

QI Esencial - Oriental Therapies on Loja Ecuador - Acupuncture

Leonardo relata que los antiguos chinos decían que nadie puede experimentar algo de su vida si no se permite abrirse hacia el dolor que puede generar esa experiencia, significa hacer una retro inspección de tu vida y sentir el dolor de la experiencia de tu vida, sentir tanto y tanto dolor para que eso te permitirá abrir cuánticamente un portal a una nueva vida. El objetivo de la acupuntura es ayudar a restaurar el flujo normal de energía a lo largo de los meridianos para que el cuerpo funcione adecuadamente y seas feliz (bueno esta es mi propia explicación sin duda simplificada en exceso).

Siempre observando al paciente con atención profunda
Siempre observando al paciente con atención profunda
Practicas de Qigong (Chi kung)


Qigong (Chi Kung)

Qigong (que tambien se escribe Chi Kung) son técnicas relacionadas a la medicina china tradicional que comprenden la mente, la respiración y el ejercicio físico. Se practica con objetivos orientados a la salud. “Chi” significa aire (fluido que anima la respiración).

Según la medicina tradicional china los síntomas causados por el estrés, las emociones y la enfermedad  son los signos de un desequilibrio de la circulación del Chi en nuestro cuerpo. La tradición china puede ayudarnos a liberarnos de todas las tensiones y de todas las trabas contra la buena circulación de nuestra energía. Esta gimnasia de movimientos simples esta muy estudiada para actuar directamente en los órganos y en los meridianos por los cuales circula el flujo de la energía.

La energía en movimiento a través del fluir de tu cuerpo.


La clave para realmente sanar cualquier afección es entender la verdadera causa de la misma. Aquí es donde la llamada medicina “convencional” falla estrepitosamente. Este tipo de medicina sólo trata los síntomas y la mayoría de las veces ni siquiera le  interesa las verdaderas causas que desencadena cualquier enfermedad. No hay tiempo para eso.

Le pregunté a Leonardo cual cree que seria en la mayoría de los casos la verdadera causa de los problemas de salud de sus pacientes. Contestó que en la mayoría de los casos las personas somatizan sus problemas mentales. Estos pueden ser desde la variedad mas común de estrés y ansiedad hasta algún trastorno profundo que puede provenir de un evento traumático del pasado o incluso desde la infancia. Somatizar significa que cuando la mente no tiene forma de “expresar” lo que siente, se pasa el mal-estar al cuerpo. Entonces se manifiesta en el cuerpo una infección, un dolor de espalda, gastritis, migrañas, etc…

Abordar esta situación con alguna píldora, en realidad no resuelve nada. Incluso tratar el problema con las terapias naturales no es la respuesta. Un buen baño de cajón, un masaje o una desintoxicación del hígado son ciertamente buenas, pero cuando la causa de la enfermedad de una persona se encuentra en el inconsciente o subconsciente, estas formas de medicina natural también estarían encarando los síntomas en lugar de la causa aunque de manera menos peligrosa y tóxica.

La terapia de CUPPING

es otro tipo de terapia que Leonardo ofrece en QI Esencial.

QI Esencial Loja - Terapia de ahuecamiento
QI Esencial Loja – Terapia de ahuecamiento

La terapia de cupping es una antigua forma de medicina alternativa en la que un terapeuta pone un tipo de vasos especiales en tu piel durante unos minutos para crear la succión. Existen muchos propósitos, incluso para aliviar el dolor, la inflamación, el flujo sanguíneo, la relajación, el bienestar, y como un tipo de masaje de tejido profundo.

Relativamente desconocida por la mayoría de las personas que viven en Occidente hasta hace poco, esta terapia ha sido popular en China desde alrededor del año 1000 AC. Algunos registros muestran que variaciones de esta práctica de cupping podrían ser en realidad mucho mas antiguas – posiblemente desde el año 3000 antes de Cristo.

Un excelente resumen acerca de esta terapia se puede encontrar en este artículo en inglés  AQUÍ

QI Esencial Loja Ecuador - Terapia de ahuecamiento

Al final del día

Dejamos el centro QI Esencial después de unas sesiones de acupuntura y cupping sintiendo que habíamos hecho un nuevo amigo en Leonardo y con deseos de regresar a nuestras próximas citas. Esta vez serán de biomagnetismo, cosmetología, nutrición y mas. Redactaremos nuestras experiencias en un siguiente articulo.

Una cosa que me llamó la atención es lo relajado que Martha se veía al final de su sesión. Les pedi que me dejaran tomar unas fotos de ellos.

Leonardo y su paciente feliz Martha después de la sesión
Leonardo y su paciente feliz Martha después de la sesión

Leonardo y su paciente feliz Martha después de la sesión


QI Esencial en Loja Ecuador es un lugar muy especial en el que te sentirás muy bien, relajado y atendido de manera profesional. Ofrecen tratamientos holísticos lo que significa que el enfoque es todo el cuerpo, incluyendo la mente y no sólo la enfermedad específica que te lleva a visitarlo.

QI Esencial - Medicina Oriental y Bioenergética en Loja Ecuador
QI Esencial – Medicina Oriental y Bioenergética en Loja Ecuador

Dirección: 10 de Agosto entre Juan José Peña y 24 de Mayo en el Edificio Plaza Murano

Tel : 07 – 2574907

Sitio web :

qi esencial loja ecuador

QI Esencial – Medicina Oriental y Bioenergética en Loja Ecuador

Tags: acupuntura, medicina oriental, terapia de cupping, biomagnetismo, chi kung, qigong, aceites esenciales, aromaterapia, masajes, spa, cosmetología, nutrición.


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GAS – Lo que se destaca en Ecuador – Gentileza

es Versión Español us
English HERE
Por Pierre Volter
Y Martha Jaramillo

(Gringo Al Sur – Nov 2016) Este es el primer relato de lo que espero serán muchos. Por favor, primero lea mi introducción AQUÍ para entender mejor el ángulo que deseo enseñar.

Puesto que soy una persona positiva, voy a empezar con lo positivo. Hay tantas cualidades positivas de este país que se podría escribir un libro sobre lo positivo. Este no es mi objetivo. Me gustaría dar algunos consejos y espero que la gente comente en la sección de abajo para compartir sus propias experiencias y puntos de vista.

Para aquellos que están buscando artículos de alta calidad recomiendo revisar los siguientes que contienen información sobre todos los aspectos de la cultura ecuatoriana. Visiten este sitio web mediante el siguiente enlace. Es el mejor análisis que he encontrado hasta ahora. Para las personas de habla hispana también se proporciona una traducción de Google.

En lugar de escribir una larga lista de todo lo que creo que es correcto y otra lista de lo que creo que no es tan correcto, voy a proceder de forma incremental y descomponerlo en partes. En cada parte me limitaré a hablar solamente sobre uno de los temas.

Hoy hablare de la dulzura y la no agresividad.

Algo en los genes

Mi conclusión después de algunos años de haber estado inmerso en la cultura ecuatoriana es que hay un factor profundamente genético que hace que el pueblo ecuatoriano sea lo que es.

Mayoritariamente aquí las personas son “mestizas”, lo que significa (en Latina América) la mezcla de los españoles (europeos) con los indios (incas). No soy un experto en el tema pero creo que esto sería acertado acerca de los colombianos y los peruanos también. Sin embargo, debe haber algo específico sobre la mezcla ecuatoriana que hace que la gente sea muy linda.

Lo que quiero decir con “linda” es que son una raza gentil, amable, pacífica y fundamentalmente feliz. Por supuesto, la cultura juega un papel igualmente importante. Está más allá de mis habilidades hacer un análisis pertinente y preciso de cómo siglos de cultura podrían haber dirigido al pueblo Ecuatoriano a ser lo que hoy en día son. No soy más que un humilde observador, que hoy vive aquí y mi deseo es solamente compartir algunas de mis observaciones con otras personas que podrían considerar la posibilidad de vivir aquí y también con los propios ecuatorianos que a menudo no son conscientes de estos rasgos de su propia cultura.

Por supuesto, uno puede encontrar esta bondad natural con más facilidad en los pueblos que en las ciudades. Las ciudades son ciudades en cualquier parte del mundo, no se debe esperar la misma amabilidad de un taxista estresado en el centro de Quito o incluso de Loja que de un campesino tranquilo en medio de su huerto de bananos. La foto de abajo fue tomada recientemente en Mercadillo (Cantón Alamor – Provincia de Loja). Como habrá notado la dama no usa zapatos.

La gente amable de Alamor Loja
La gente amable de Alamor Loja

Para mejor comprensión, yo diría que en comparación con las personas de Norteamérica son totalmente lo opuesto y por las mismas razones, una combinación de la genética y la cultura. Son conflictivos, agresivos y generalmente infelices. Hablo en general, no hablo de nadie en particular. Uno sólo tiene que mirar la situación del mundo para ver quienes son los agresores. Una vez más, está más allá de mis habilidades y mi alcance para analizar las razones históricas de este fenómeno. Y antes de que la gente quiera estrangularme, permítanme decirles que los europeos y Australianos (Oz y NZ) no son mejores, sólo un poco diferente. De hecho, hay algo en el hombre blanco, en general, que lo hace fundamentalmente agresivo. Debe ser algo que ver con el ego.

Ecuador es un gran laboratorio de observación del comportamiento humano y Vilcabamba (o Cuenca) en particular debido a la alta presencia de personas emigrantes blancos. No puedo contar el número de historias en las cuales he sido involucrado, donde los expatriados simplemente no pueden llevarse bien. No tienden a luchar en las calles.

Ellos discuten mucho por mensajes de correo electrónico. En una ocasión fui lector de un grupo de yahoo llamado “ecuador expats”. Las conversaciones eran invariables y con facilidad los intercambios eran muy groseros. Hoy en día continua la misma situación a pesar de que ya no es muy activo parece ser que esta dando su último aliento, la mayoría de las personas se han trasladado a Facebook.

Facebook es lo mismo. Tenemos el Boletín Vilcabamba y Vilcabamba community. 99% de tiempo son tranquilos y educados, pero de vez en cuando estallan y la agresividad natural de la gente viene a plena luz. Nada es diferente.

los ecuatorianos son diferentes.

Su cultura es verbal más que escrita. Incluso los abogados no se comunican bien a través de mensajes de correo electrónico. La mejor y única manera eficaz de comunicarse con la gente es cara a cara y verbalmente. Confía en mí Yo sé de lo que estoy hablando.

Cara a cara, se encuentra esta bondad, la no agresividad de la que estoy hablando. Por supuesto son latinos, lo que significa caliente. Pueden hablar mucho, pueden mirarte enojados, pueden gritar. Sin embargo, esto no significa mucho generalmente. Las cosas a menudo se suelen solucionar después de que la sangre latina se haya enfriado un poco.

Yo personalmente prefiero esto a un rencor reprimido a sangre fría que las personas de diferentes culturas pueden exhibir. Naturalmente, es más saludable dejar salir el vapor y luego empezar de cero.

Incluso la policía

Tal vez nada revela más a cerca de un pueblo que la actitud de las autoridades del orden, en particular de la policía. Podría escribir muchas cosas positivas sobre la policía, otras negativas estoy seguro. Alguna persona que lea esto podría haber tenido alguna no muy buena experiencia.

Mi experiencia después de años de vivir aquí, y de nuevo resaltar mi tema principal, que es la no agresividad de la población ecuatoriana, es que todavía no he visto a un policía agrediendo a alguien. El otro día, tuvimos la oportunidad de charlar sobre este tema con dos policías y el teniente político de San Pedro mientras disfrutábamos de un jugo natural de maracuyá en el corredor delantero de mi casa.


GAS - Lo que es correcto sobre Ecuador - Gentileza
GAS – Lo que es correcto sobre Ecuador – Gentileza

Los tres fueron en todo momento muy amables, tranquilos y realmente tratan de ayudar. Parece que su lema “Proteger y Servir” no son sólo palabras vacías. Me explicaron que pueden portar armas, pero solamente se les permite utilizarlas en casos extremos. Compare esto con lo que leemos acerca de la policía norteamericana: disparar primero – hablar después.

Los niños sienten y los niños no mienten
Los niños sienten y los niños no mienten


Cuando los acompañamos a la salida espontáneamente sin que nadie se lo diga nuestra hija de 4 años agarró la mano del oficial para caminar. Los niños sienten y los niños no mienten.


Les pedí que me dieran una entrevista y parecieron contentos de tener la oportunidad de explicar la forma en que operan. Esto será muy pronto en

Incluso en la carretera

¿Cómo conducen los ecuatorianos? Conducen rápido, no toman las señales muy en serio, pasan en la línea amarilla sólida, rebasan el vehículo en marcha rebasan otro vehículo en marcha, crean el tercer carril cuando hay sólo dos etc …

Manejando entre Loja en Vilcabamba
Manejando entre Loja en Vilcabamba

Sin embargo, a pesar de eso, no son conductores agresivos.

He visto un montón de conductores agresivos, en Europa, de donde soy y también en la tranquila Nueva Zelanda. La gente conduce lentamente a causa de las restricciones de velocidad y las cámaras ocultas. Sin embargo dada la oportunidad, pueden llegar a ser agresivos.

Solía conducir una motocicleta de 150cc en Nueva Zelanda y cada luz roja del semáforo era un estrés, porque como motociclista estaba haciendo lo que todos los motociclistas hacen trataba de ponerme en la parte delantera. Casi siempre en cuanto el semáforo cambiaba al verde, el primer coche arrancaba tan rápido como podía para evitar que yo vaya en primer lugar. Esta actitud era generalizada. Resolví el problema cambiando mi 150cc por una 900cc de Kawasaki y a partir de entonces ya me dejaron en paz  😉

En Ecuador, conduzco una moto de 250 cc, no es para nada rápida y lo que les mencionaba anteriormente nunca me ha pasado acá y cuando digo nunca me refiero a que ni una sola vez. La gente siempre me deja pasar. Es mucho más seguro para una moto estar en frente de los carros o alternativamente detrás de los carros, pero nunca en el medio de los carros.

Con respecto a los accidentes, no estoy en condiciones de proporcionar estadísticas, pero puedo decir que no he visto más accidentes en Ecuador que en los “límites de velocidad obsesionados” de Nueva Zelanda. Creo que la no agresividad inherente de la población ecuatoriana es un factor importante. Conducir rápido es una cosa, la conducción agresiva y enojada es otra.

No todo es perfecto

Existe la agresión en la sociedad ecuatoriana. La mayoría de ellos son delitos menores, robos. Vilcabamba ha tenido su parte. Todos somos conscientes de algunos ataques bastante brutales que tuvieron lugar aquí.


para más información sobre este tema

Sin embargo esto no es una reflexión sobre la cultura general. Son eventos aislados. Una vez es necesario mantener las cosas en perspectiva y comparar con el número de ataques mortales en sus países respectivos.

En pocas palabras, la gente es gente. Los seres humanos han sido siempre una especie agresiva. Ecuatorianos apenas parecen estar en la parte inferior de la escala. Yo nunca he estado en nuestro país vecino del norte, Colombia, pero me han contado que tienden a reaccionar de manera más agresiva ante los mismos estímulos. He estado en Perú dos veces y he observado la misma tendencia.


Como siempre, mi conclusión es que no existe una conclusión y no hay necesidad de una. Me encanta vivir entre gente amable no agresiva. Si eres como yo y odias cualquier forma de agresividad, Ecuador puede ser tu lugar de elección. Este tipo de rasgo ecuatoriano yo diría que es el que más me gusta. Hay otros rasgos positivos que voy a revisar en las próximas partes de esta colección de artículos.

Ecuador - Gente dulce y tranquila
Ecuador – Gente dulce y tranquila

Manténganse al tanto.

© 2016
All rights reserved

Gringo al SUR - Living at the boundary between two worlds
Gringo al SUR
GAS – Lo que se destaca en Ecuador – Gentileza

Tags: Ecuador Loja Vilcabamba Cultura Extranjero Gringo

GAS – What is right about Ecuador – Gentleness

us English versiones
Español AQUI
Pierre Volter


(Gringo al SUR – Nov 2016) This is the first write-up of what I hope will be many. Please do read my introduction first HERE to understand where I am coming from.

Since I am a positive kind of guy, let’s start with the positive. There is so much positive about this country that a book could be written on the positive alone. This is not my goal. I wish to give a few pointers and I hope that people will comment in the section below to share their own views and experience.

For those who want a high quality in-depth article about all aspects of the Ecuadorian culture I recommend to read this one from the web site using the link below. It is the best analysis that I have found so far. For Spanish speaking people a Google translation is also provided.

Instead of writing a lengthy list of all that I believe is right and another list of what I believe is wrong, I will proceed incrementally and break it down in parts. In each part I will restrict myself to one and only one topic.

Today we talk about gentleness and non-aggressiveness.

something in the genes

My conclusion after years of being exposed to the Ecuadorian culture is that there is something deeply genetic that makes the Ecuadorian people who they are.

Most people here are “mestizos”, meaning (in Latin America) people of mixed race, especially the offspring of a Spaniard and an American Indian. I am no expert but I guess this would be true about the Colombians and the Peruvians as well. However, there must be something about the specific Ecuadorian mix that makes the people so nice.

What I mean by “nice” is that they are a gentle, non-confrontational, non-aggressive and fundamentally happy race. Of course the culture plays an equally important role. It is beyond my skills to make a relevant and accurate analysis of how centuries of culture might have lead the people of Ecuador to be who they are today. I am only a humble observant, living here today and my scope is only to share some of my observations with others who might consider living here and also with the Ecuadorians themselves who often are not aware of these traits of their own culture.

Of course, one will find this natural kindness more easily in the villages than in the cities. Cities being cities all over the world, one should not expect the same kindness from a stressed out taxi driver in the middle of Quito or even Loja than from a tranquil campesino in the middle of his banana plantation. The photo below was taken recently in Mercadillo (Canton Alamor – Provincia de Loja). As a side note the lady never ever wears shoes.

Gentle people from Alamor Loja
Gentle people from Alamor Loja

To bring things more into scope, I would say in comparison that the North Americans people are essentially the opposite and for the same reasons, a combination of genetics and culture. They are confrontational, aggressive and generally unhappy. I speak in general, I don’t speak about you in particular. One only has to look at the world situation to see who the aggressors are. Again it is beyond my skills and my scope to analyses the historical reasons for this. And before people get at my throat, let me say that Europeans and Australasians (Oz and NZ) are not any better, just slightly different. In fact, there is something about the white man in general that makes him fundamentally aggressive. Must be something to do with the ego.

Ecuador is a great human behavior observation laboratory and Vilcabamba (or Cuenca) in particular due to the high presence of white people expats. I cannot count the number of stories that I have been exposed to where expats can simply not get along. They don’t tend to fight in the streets. They fight by emails. Once upon a time, I was a reader of this yahoo group called “ecuador_expats”. Conversations would invariably turn into beside topic rude and some times very rude exchanges. It is still the case today although this once very active group appears to be now on its last breath, most people having moved to Facebook.

Facebook is the same. We have the Vilcabamba boletin and the Vilcabamba community. 99% of the time things are quiet and polite but from time to time they explode and the natural aggressiveness of the people comes to full light. Nothing is different.

Ecuadorians are different.

They have a verbal rather than written culture. Even lawyers don’t communicate well at all through emails. The best and only effective way to communicate with people is face to face and verbally. Trust me I know what I am talking about.

Face to face, you will find this kindness, non aggressiveness that I am talking about. Of course they are Latinos, meaning hot. They can talk a lot, they can look angry, they can yell. However, this does not generally mean much. Things can most often be sorted out after the Latin blood has settled a bit.

I personally prefer this to a bottled up cold blooded rancor that people from different cultures can exhibit. It is naturally healthier to let the steam out and then move on.

Even the police

Maybe nothing reveals more about a people that the attitude of its law enforcement authorities, in particular, the police. We could write many things about the police, some negative I am sure. People who read this might have had some not too good experience.

My experience after years of living here, and again sticking to my main topic which is the non-aggressiveness of the Ecuadorian people, is that I have yet to see a confrontational policeman. The other day, we had the opportunity to chat about that very topic with two sergeants and the San Pedro teniente politico  while enjoying a natural jugo de maracuya on our front porch.

GAS - What is right about Ecuador - Gentleness
GAS – What is right about Ecuador – Gentleness

All three of them were at all time extremely courteous, calm and genuinely trying to help. It seems that their slogan “proteger y servir” is not just empty words. They explained to me that they do bear arms but are not even allowed to pull them let alone use them unless in extreme cases. Compare this with what we read about the north American police: shoot first – talk last.

I asked them to give me an interview and they seemed happy about being given the opportunity to explain how they operate. This will come soon on

When they left, we walked them out to our gate and spontaneously without anyone saying anything our 4 year old daughter grabbed one of the officer’s hand. Kids feel and kids don’t lie.

Kids feel and don't lie
Kids feel and kids don’t lie
Even on the road

How do Ecuadorian drive? They drive fast, they don’t take the rules very seriously, they pass on the solid yellow line, they pass the car passing the car passing the car, they create the third lane when there are only two etc…

However, despite of that, they are not aggressive drivers.

I have seen plenty of aggressive drivers, in Europe where I am from and also in peaceful New Zealand. People drive slowly because of the speed restrictions and the zillion cameras. However given the opportunity, they will become aggressive.

I used to drive a 150cc motorcycle in NZ and each red traffic light was a stress because as a motorcyclist, I was doing what all motorcyclists do which is to move to the front. Almost always, as soon as the light turned green, the first car took off as fast it could to not allow me to go first. This attitude was widespread. I solved the problem by swapping my 150cc for a Kawasaki 900cc and they left me alone from then on 😉

In Ecuador, I drive a 250 cc bike, not fast by any mean and this has never and I mean never happened to me once. People always let me pass. It is much safer for a motorbike to be in front of the cars or alternatively behind the cars but never in the middle of the cars.

With regard to accidents, I am not in a position to provide statistics but I can say that I have not seen more accidents in Ecuador that in “speed limit obsessed” New Zealand. I believe the inherent non aggressiveness of the Ecuadorian people is an important factor. Driving fast is one thing, driving angry and aggressively is another.

Not everything is perfect

There is aggression in the Ecuadorian society though. Most of it is petty crime, robberies. Vilcabamba has had its fare share. We are all aware of some pretty brutal assaults that occurred here.

See for more on this topic

However this is no reflection on the general culture. They are isolated events. Again one needs to keep things in perspective and compare with the number deadly assaults in their own respective countries.

Bottom line, people are people. Humans have always been an aggressive species. Ecuadorian just seem to be on the lower part of the scale. I have never been to our northern neighbor country Colombia but I was told that they tend to react more aggressively to the same stimuli. I have been to Peru twice and have observed the same tendency.


As always, my conclusion is that there is no conclusion and no need for one. I just love living among gentle non aggressive people. If you are like me and hate any form of aggressiveness, Ecuador may be your place of choice. This is the one Ecuadorian trait that I would say I love the most. There are other positive traits that I will review in the next parts of this collection of articles.

Ecuador - Sweet and gentle people
Ecuador – Sweet and gentle people

Stay tuned.

© 2016
All rights reserved

Gringo al SUR - Living at the boundary between two worlds
Gringo al SUR – Living at the boundary between two worlds

Tags: Ecuador Loja Vilcabamba Culture Expat Gringo

Gringo al SUR – At the boundary between two worlds

Español AQUI NO es una traducción humana!

In Ecuador, whoever has fair or fairer skin and does not look Chinese is called a “gringo”. Whether you are Swedish, Australian or even, how ironic, Russian, you are a gringo. At the beginning when I first arrived in this country in 2008, this was a little disturbing to me. I am European, from a tiny country  called Belgium and I feel in no way related to the real so-called “gringos” from North America.

Belgium - Country of beer and chocolate
Belgium – Country of beer and chocolate

My English is pretty good due to the fact I enjoyed 15 years of British style total immersion in New Zealand where I lived and worked as a software consultant. However my native tongue is French, not English.

I tried many times to explain to Ecuadorians that Belgium is only 1000 km from Spain, and I add, to make sure that they understand, that this would be roughly equivalent to the distance  between Loja and Lima in Peru, and that consequently, if I am a gringo, then the Spanish are also gringos. Logical right? I use to spend holidays in Spain with my parents. Everybody goes to Spain. For us it is next door after France. In addition, there are many Spaniards who are whiter than me, so it cannot just be the skin color. They can also have blue eyes. Even Ecuadorians can have blue eyes. To no avail. I am a gringo and there is nothing that I can do about it. Better get used to it and make the most of it.

One key advantage I have on most real gringos, e.g. North Americans, is that I speak almost perfect Spanish now. Many times, Ecuadorians ask me if I am from Spain. This ability to speak Spanish helped me develop a wide circle of contacts in Loja and gave me the possibility to participate in TV and radio programs. This is how…

El “Gringo al SUR” was born.

This was a Ecuadorian’s good friend of mine’s idea: Ramiro Jimenez. He is the creator of a TV show on Ecotel TV in Loja and had the idea to create this character: a gringo not like any other gringo. A gringo that would appeal to an Ecuadorian audience and have something to say to an Ecuadorian audience about their own country. His nickname would be “Gringo al SUR” or shortly GAS. I am flattered that I was deemed suitable and qualified for that role.

Video Show - Canal Ecotel TV - Loja Ecuador
Video Show – Canal Ecotel TV – Loja Ecuador

In a few words this is the GAS character’s profile:

Gringo al SUR is an expat who embarks on a discovery trip around the Loja province and it numerous “pueblos”.

He likes talking to the people. He is very curious by nature and wants to know everything.  He is not scared of asking silly questions and make people laugh.

Locos de Loja

Gringo al SUR - Video Show - Canal Ecotel TV - Loja Ecuador
Gringo al SUR – Video Show – Canal Ecotel TV – Loja Ecuador

His ambition is to help the people living here rediscover the beauty of their own country and province, to show them things from the perspective of an outsider..

In Spanish the slogan would be “Vuelve a descubrir tu pais”.

Gringo al SUR - Vuleve a descubrir tu pais

Indeed, it struck me that many Ecuadorians underestimate their country because they don’t really know it that well and don’t realize how beautiful it really is. There is this slogan written at the back of the buses in Loja that says “if you haven’t been to Loja, you don’t know my country”. This is absolutely true. Loja deserves to be better known.

However the opposite is also true. Loja is only one part of Ecuador and the rest is also worth seeing. I slightly changed the slogan in order to tell the people from Loja to open up not only to the rest of Ecuador but also to the rest of the world.

If you haven’t been out of Loja, you don’t know my country

We produced 8 episodes of Gringo al SUR and they were aired on Ecotel in 2015. This was a unique opportunity to “go deep” and see remote places such as Chuquiribamba.

Gringpo al SUR in Chuqiribamba Loja Ecuador
Gringpo al SUR in Chuqiribamba

Many people in Loja still recognize me and ask about the show. Ecotel TV is no more and we wait for some new opportunity to resume our work.

Here is a video sample (in Spanish) of what happens to me all the time in the course of my normal activities in Loja.

Video - A message of positive attitude in Loja Ecuador

You can watch all the episodes on line HERE

At the boundary between two worlds

What is explained above is only one side of the Gringo al SUR, the side that Ecuadorians can relate to. The other side is that I am still and will forever be, an expat. I have spent far more years of my life in the first world than I have spent in the so-called third one (I have always wondered where the second might be !). So I understand what the first world mentality is. When I feel a bit down, when the third world gets at me, when I want to scream at Ecuadorian people “get off Facebook” or when I am confronted with the bigger than life Ecuadorian bureaucracy, I try to not forget why I walked away from the first world.

It is certainly not because I was living in a bad place. Here is a photo of my hometown Nelson in New Zealand. Not exactly a bad place.

Nelson in New Zealand
Nelson in New Zealand

However something is broken inside me. Or maybe not. A better way to look at it might be that since I left the first world I have now become more myself, the person I have always been. Ecuador has shaken me so much. I certainly feel that I am a better person now. There is something that contributed a lot to make me fit into that GAS role and it is that

I live with a woman from Loja

and we have a young girl together (3 1/2 at the time of this writing) while she has two of her own (boys, 11 and 9). She does not speak English and neither does our daughter nor her two boys . I know that I should do something about it but I keep postponing. For a start, English is not even my own language so why should I teach it to them? Some days when I watch American politics I think that Russian or Mandarin might be a far better choice for the future. And why not French? In the mean time we speak Spanish.

She helped me like no-one to understand what Ecuador is really about. She made me realize that most expats live in a bubble and frankly have no clue about this country. This does not mean that they don’t love it. It means that what they see is only the outer layer of the onion. Going deeper requires time and effort and a good knowledge of Spanish is absolutely indispensable. I also helped her to understand her own country better. This is because I often question things that she never really thought about. Why are people acting this or that way? may I ask her. The fact is that often she does not really know either although she was born here. So we talk, exchange ideas and it is an enriching experience for both of us.

A rich European Ecuadorian Blend
A rich European Ecuadorian Blend – She helped me like no-one to understand what Ecuador is really about

On the other hand I help her understand better how expats think. Thank to my near perfect Spanish I can converse with anybody about any topic. I realized that the gap between Ecuadorians and American expats is huge. There is NO WAY they will ever understand each other. This does not mean that things are bad. They will coexist peacefully just like tourists coexist peacefully with their hosts. Integration is another kettle of fish which is way out of reach for most.

In further write-ups, I will develop this important topic further and try to give concrete examples.


Living at the boundary between two worlds is a very exciting and nurturing experience. I can liaise equally well with the expats in Vilcabamba and Loja, speak their language and share their values (to a degree), as I can liaise with Ecuadorians of all ages and social status, speak their language and share their values (to a degree). After all if one wants to be friend with his car mechanic, one has to be able to crack a good car mechanic joke in Spanish, as simple as that !

Gringo al SUR - Living at the boundary between two worlds
Gringo al SUR – Living at the boundary between two worlds

Tags: Ecuador Loja Vilcabamba Culture Expat Gringo