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Culture and Spanish in Ecuador

 

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  #1  
Old December 25, 2011, 10:14 AM
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Culture and Spanish in Ecuador

Going to Ecuador in January for 3 months (if I'm having a good time) or less if not.
Any tips on culture or Spanish gotchas in Ecuador would be appreciated. I'm VERY sure I will make many mistakes but would like to avoid insulting anyone.

I'm planning on attending the Spanish school at the Sundowner Hostel on Playa Canoa. Anyone familiar with that school or Playa Canoa?
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Old December 30, 2011, 05:11 AM
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I spent a few days in Canoa back in 2005. If your hostel is the one I think it is, I didn't stay there but did go to its café for breakfast most days.

The most important cultural tip I remember may not be useful, but in case it is: do not beckon someone over as you would in an Anglo-Saxon country (fingers pointing upwards), as that implies you think they're a prostitute. Instead use a similar hand movement but with your fingers pointing at the ground.

Busses stop anywhere, not just at stops. To stop one, stick out your hand with the palm down and pat an imaginary object. Get on, take a seat, and someone will come round to collect the fare from you later. Back then it was about $1/hour as a rule of thumb, but there's probably been some inflation.

Take a few rolls of fly paper, and possibly a rat trap.

Canoa is a tiny place, and doesn't have much in the way of shops. You'll have to go south to San Vicente and get the ferry across to Bahía if you want to send a postcard home or buy more than basic groceries.


Language notes:

Use usted pretty much always except with small children.

Strawberry is normally la frutilla rather than fresa. Passionfruit = la maracuyá. Blackberry = la mora. Peach = el durazno.

Agua aromática means roughly "herbal tea", but in some places if you want tea you ask for agua aromática, whereas in others if you ask for you'll get herbal. You pays your money and takes your chances (although if you really want tea you could try asking for té negro).


If you decide to do a bit of travelling while you're in the country, I thoroughly recommend the Mindo cloudforest reserve, ENE of Santo Domingo and WNW of Quito. It's also en route from Canoa to Otavalo, which has a large market aimed at tourists.
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Old January 05, 2012, 06:00 PM
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Gracias, Diamond. I am really looking forward to the trip.
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Old December 25, 2013, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRitter View Post
Going to Ecuador in January for 3 months (if I'm having a good time) or less if not.
Any tips on culture or Spanish gotchas in Ecuador would be appreciated. I'm VERY sure I will make many mistakes but would like to avoid insulting anyone.

I'm planning on attending the Spanish school at the Sundowner Hostel on Playa Canoa. Anyone familiar with that school or Playa Canoa?
Hola Bob.
Did you go to Ecuador and how was it?
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Old December 30, 2013, 11:20 AM
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Yes. It was great. The school was a disappointment, although the people were wonderful. They insisted on teaching from a course book that would be appropriate for a full year of HS or college Spanish. Much to much grammar. I talked to el jefe about it but to no avail. They really didn't have the background experience to formulate individual courses that would be useful for a week or 3.

The country is beautiful and VERY affordable if you travel on the cheap the way I do. Get to town, grab a cab and ask the driver for a safe, clean hostel and you are set. I traveled all over the country. Never a hassle or feeling of insecurity. I usually opted for a private room with bath and rarely paid more than $10-12 a night. Almost always with TV and WiFi. Had a room with bath down the hall in Quito for $4 a night. Dorms were commonly $7-10. In Canoa I paid for 1 month room and 20 hours of lessons and the room came out to be $8. Private room and bath and I stepped out the door in the beach. Only gottcha was it was the rainy season and after the river north of the hotel flooded the surf was full of driftwood and debris.

All in all a great trip. 3 months and pretty much loved every minute of it.

I grew up in San Fernando and liver in Orange Co. for many years. Have relatives in NorCo. Live in FL now, hate it.
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Old January 01, 2014, 07:29 PM
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Sounds fantastico Bob. Nice to hear such a positive story.
I'm going to take a trip to Ecuador and stay with some friends there.
One of my Ecuadorian friends will stay a month with me first.
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