Adios Banos

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Home beckons and so I leave the  Ecuadorian summer for the Georgia winter. It’s more than a fair exchange.

My primary impression of this South American country can be summed up in two words — loud and unfinished.

I have found it hard to escape noise, having been surrounded by it almost 24/7 since arriving here. That’s problematic for me as I  prefer a fair amount of quiet time. But, Ecuadorians love their music loud…they seem to enjoy honking car horns even more than New York City cab drivers…and it’s no surprise that in the rain forest, you’re surrounded by a cacophony of insects and birds. I have not found a truly quiet place…though there must be one in the 109,483 square miles that is Ecuador.
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Unfinished. The favorite building material in Ecuador seems to be concrete blocks. John and I estimated that at least 40 percent of the concrete-block buildings we have seen in between Quito, Cuenca and Banos are unfinished. It’s as if there was a major push to erect buildings, even in the tiniest barrio, and then all funds dried up. Many buildings stand as empty shells or with a single floor completed. The top floor(s) remains open, often with rebar exposed. The wiring outside, and frequently inside, buildings also seems unfinished — strung haphazardly here and there.

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Unfinished in Banos de Agua Santa

Yet, as in every country I’ve ever visited, from the richest to the poorest, the cathedrals/churches are beautiful to behold.

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Basilica Reina del Rosario Agua Santa

But in the face of need, the ornate beauty of the cathedrals/churches seems incongruous. How many who hunger could be fed with the proceeds of one gilded statue or a single piece of art?

The most positive aspect of Banos and Ecuador in general is the natural beauty that engulfs you wherever you are The Creation is at its loveliest here, drawing your eye ever upward to gaze upon the glorious Andes.
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