A Letter To Ecuador

A Letter to Ecuador on Independence Day 10 August

My dear Ecuador,

I first met you when I crossed the Canchis river while coming from Peru. The first gift I received from you was the steepest road with up to 25% slope. My heart knocked inside the chest like a hammer and the rear wheel slipped on the gravel. I was about to throw the bicycle aside when someone came from behind and handed me a bottle of Volt energy drink, saying, “Bienvenidos a Ecuador (Welcome to Ecuador)!”

That was my introduction to you. The steep roads and the genuine hospitality stayed with me throughout. Once, a family even offered me to marry their girl. Tell me if they were joking?

Remember once I fell down face-first from the bicycle while descending a dirt road? I got scratches all over. Maybe, you wanted to touch my face.

Your capital city Quito placed a tremendous role in my trip. It was here where I bought a dress shirt and appeared at the US embassy for the visa interview. If it were not for you, I wouldn’t have been able to make it to the north. Here when walking down a dark street on the way to a restaurant, I made a promise in my heart. That night, I asked the waiter not to add a chicken fillet to my plate of rice and beans. Since then I am a vegetarian and haven’t touched meat.

How you fed me beans and eggs with white rice day after day!

Your waterfalls hang from cliffs like devil’s long tongue—your Cotopaxi volcano is symmetrical like the Grand Pyramid of Giza—your llamas, ever so curious—and your grass has all shades of red, green, and yellow. Your lakes are the eyes of the earth. If God is a painter, you are one of its finest paintings.

Oh, how I loved the treehouse overlooking a majestic volcano, and the swing hanging at the end of the world. You made me feel like a bird!
You are special because here I crossed the equator line and moved from southern hemisphere to northern hemisphere.
You taught me that it is mostly the boundaries inside our mind that stop us from reaching our goals. You taught me that two things matter the most.

Taking the first step to begin something, and the last step to finish it.

For those two steps, my dear Ecuador, I will always be grateful to you.

Happy Independence Day!

Cotopaxi National Park.
“Pailon Del Diablo” or “Devil’s Cauldron” waterfall.
The swing at the end of the world.
Crossing the equator line.
Fell down from the bike face first.
Cycling in the Cotopaxi National Park.
A farmer family at the edge of Cotopaxi National Park.
A family invited me over lunch and offered me to marry their girl (in the background).
A waterfall near Baños.

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