10 Years of Blog Archive

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Yikes, Everything Is Small in Latin America, Or Am I just Big?

Nothing against the Ecuadorian height but why do I feel so big in Ecuador? It’s funny because one of the first things we noticed when looking at some of the furniture in Ecuador is how low to the floor it is; when we sit down, our knees go up to our neck! Yikes, are we that big?

When we rented our house one of the first things we noticed was the pedestal sink in the master bath being not very tall and the toilet itself was also really low to the floor… and they are new toilet and sink fixtures. What’s going on here?

What’s going on is, North Americans are big/tall people, but not really. Frank and I are both 5’10” and our sons are a little over 6’ but so what, isn’t that like normal height? For North America it’s normal height. We didn’t feel that tall in the u.s but here, we’re runner up to amazon people. LOL
In 2011 when we first moved here the city buses were all the blue older buses and our knees would invariably push up against the seat in front of us, sometimes it was rather uncomfortable. Also makes your pants dirty at the knees.  Today the newer buses have more leg room; we still hop on one of the older buses now and again and our knees rub up against the seat in front of us; it’s easier to sit almost sideways when we are on the older buses.

We’ve been in a lot of homes and many of the kitchen counters are not very tall either, like below waist high; now I don’t know about you but after 15 minutes of preparation in the kitchen, I think my back would begin to hurt. Thankfully our kitchen counters are about normal height, I think, maybe I’ve just gotten used to the height of our kitchen counters after four years.

Sometimes when I’m standing next to some of the under 5’ tall local women in Cuenca I feel like an amazon-woman, seriously! I stick out like a sore thumb. I often wonder what the Ecuadorians think about us tall/big people?

Have you ever traveled throughout Ecuador? We have done a lot of that and the double rooms all have tiny, tiny, double beds; some of them I don't even think are for two people! Rarely will we ever get a queen size bed. I don't know about you but that's a bit too close for comfort, for sleeping that is. 

One time I went clothes shopping in Cuenca and nothing was my size, even though it was my size. Do you get it? Hehehe. The jeans that were my size would fit a five year old. I had to go up three sizes bigger than my actual size to find a pair that sort of fit and then they were still too tight. I’ve only bought shirts in Ecuador and those barely fit me. It’s even difficult to find women’s shoes size 8.5 to 9. All the shoes are so tiny but I have big feet!

And then there’s Panama. Not much of a difference there either. The small town buses are like extended vans and well when you’re over 5’5” tall you don’t want to be standing up, but that’s exactly what happened to Frank and I on several occasions when we visited small towns on the Azuero Peninsula.  

We were too tall for the extended van busettas/buses and so we had to bend our head down while standing and on long rides, it gets so uncomfortable. For the locals that are standing up it’s not an issue; we probably looked really funny to some people with our head cranked to the side; they were staring a lot. LOL.

Just another different aspect of Latin American life we thought you’d like to know. Until, we write again…

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We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!


  1. Your talking about the indigenous people hahahaa you make us sound like Hobbits. I'm not tall 5'6 but my father is shy if 6 ft and one of my brothers is just over 6 ft. There are tall people in Ecuador, my fathers aunt Luz was 6'2 very tall for a women so was her sister and thus why they married late. But they did marry tall Ecuadorians so you can find them. But those with pure indigenous blood are very short and yes about 5 ft or so specially men from Otavalo. I have seen some Amazonian men are tall but you will never see them I did but it's too long to type out.

    Wondering if all the hormones in protein and other foods, chemicals etc make all gringos taller hahahaaa who knows maybe genetics. :P
    Putty tat007

  2. Angie, I think you may be a bit taller than Frank. Point is, you are right. I went to a furniture guy to get a roller "prep table" made for the kitchen. When I said I wanted the height to be 36", he was in awe. God bless.


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