Ecuador Children / Ecuador Lifestyle / Living in Ecuador

Peace and Love in Puertoviejo: A Story of Intercultural Exchange

I made a new friend in Puertoviejo.  I never got her name. I don’t know how old she is or what she likes to do, but we got to know each other pretty intimately over the space of about one hour.

She and her brother and father were waiting in a municipal office, along with a whole lot of other people.  No one was moving, just lots of staring off into space and thinking about all of the much more interesting things we could be doing instead of sitting . . . and waiting. . . and sitting. . . and waiting. . .

We were in Puertoviejo to close on a beach property we’d sold for a friend.  One of the docs needed was the avalu, which shows the current tax value of the property.

The waiting was interminable, with nothing much to do but twiddle my thumbs, until I got out my trusty camera and began looking for suitable subjects.

The minute I focused the lens on her, this little girl began to posed for me.  At first she was a little shy.

I could sense a part of her attention on me even as she engaged her father in conversation.

And even when she was teasing her brother.

At one point, a man sitting to her right informed her father that I was taking pictures.  Daddy turned around and frowned at me.  Gary said, “This may not go well.”

I was pretty sure things would be fine.  I’ve found a camera to be a powerful way to interact positively with people.

So I gave my camera to the dad so he could see what I’d been doing.  A big smile spread all over his face as he passed the cutest picture of his daughter around the room, suddenly the proud papa.

After receiving this non-verbal approval from her father, the girl began to more actively engage with me.  She had mock fights with her brother, craning her neck to see if I was watching.

She’d prance around the room, doing whatever she could to catch my attention, then hide when I’d raise my camera. We made silly faces, rolled our eyes and played peek-a-boo.

She posed pensively for this last shot.  Following their father out the door, she and her brother smiled and waved goodbye.

I went back to staring at the wall. Then someone tapped me on the shoulder.

When I turned, the girl’s brother handed me a pink and blue plastic bracelet with the words, “paz y amor” written all around it.  Before I say thank you, he was gone.

Now I have a wonderful memory, a picture and a token of new friendship.  No words were spoken but volumes were conveyed nevertheless.  We engaged each other in a delightful mime of body language–smiles, facial expressions and teasing glances.

While I find many Ecuadorian children very shy and averse to my attempts to engage them, this little girl was an exception.  I shall engrave her sweet memory in a special little place in my heart.



  1. what a beautiful post!! you illustrate that one can turn a boring wait into a cultural exchange! the little girl and her proud father will surely remember the encounter forEVER, as will you!


  2. Photos are amazing, sweet, and you are obviouslly a wonderful, talented artist. Thank you, for your gift to the world. I am considering a move to Equador. Would love to communicate.

    • Nan, I’m Linda, Gary’s wife. I write most of the blog posts and articles for Thanks for your kind words. With regard to your posts:
      1. The penthouse is not for rent.
      2. I’d advise renting in Ecuador until you know if it’s the place you definitely want to live. If you mean that you only have $10k total to invest in a house or apartment, it will be hard to purchase something in Ecuador, since you have to pay cash and prices are rising. Check our real estate pages and those on other sites about Ecuador real estate so you’ll be aware of current pricing and values in different areas and cities. New construction in Cotacachi is $45-$55 per sq ft plus the cost of a lot. We have a small new house for sale for $60k and an old colonial for $60k, but it will require extensive repairs and updating. We also have a townhouse for $75k.
      Rentals can be found for $250 per month unfurnished up to over $1000 per month furnished. On average you can find a very nice furnished rental for about $550 per month.

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