I've been here for six weeks now. Here are some things I have learned since I've been in Ecuador.
1. Pineapple juice is spectacular. But not all pineapple juices were created equal.
2. Internet access is a gift from God.
3. Always ask the taxi driver how much the ride will cost BEFORE you get in the cab. This will save you up to $4.
4. On that note, only take taxis that have a taxi light, an orange license plate, an orange numbered taxi sticker, and a company number in plain sight.
5. Definitely ask how expensive that beautiful necklace is- it's usually cheaper than you think.
6. There's this rule at WKU that if a teacher is more than 15 minutes late to class, students are free to leave. That rule doesn't exist in Ecuador. And the teachers are regularly more than 15 minutes late.
7. Traveling is amazing. And cheap. And most Ecuadorians have traveled all over the country, so anyone you ask can give you insider tips on where to go and what to do.
8. ALWAYS bring a jacket. The weather is temperamental. It goes from summer to winter and sunshine to rain in 30 minutes.
9. Wearing sunglasses does NOT help when trying to go incognito.
10. Crossing intersections on foot is like being playing that game Frogger. You better watch out.
11. Chucha=bad word. I learned that one the hard way.
12. You know how Friday the 12th is supposed to be an "unlucky" day? Well in Ecuador, the unlucky day is TUESDAY the 13th.
13. If you're a woman and you're white, learn how to tune out whistles, hisses, kissy noises, leers, and "Hola Mama!"'s.
14. The smaller the $$bill, the better. Break those $20's ASAP.
15. Canelazo is the best warm drink I've ever had. Water, sugar, naranjilla, and canela (liquor). Soooo good.
16. You can buy 3 movies for $5 here. It's awesome. I'm stocking up.
17. That forest fire on the side of the volcano is probably NOT lava, don't get your hopes up.
18. You can easily go to three different bars and one coffee shop on a downtown night.
19. Life is life, no matter where you are. Good and bad, up and down, busy and boring.
20. God is a BIG God.