10 Years of Blog Archive

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ecuadorian Says Americans Destroying Cuenca Ecuador

Frank/Angie, you are well aware that the concentration of americans here has raised in the last 5 years. Cuenca is not same as 2-3 years ago. Thanks to you and your kind of promotional activities, we are today in trouble. We (locals) do not want you to do with our country as same as you did with Panama or Costa Rica. It is not fair that you spend all your life doing the best in USA and bringing the worst of you to Ecuador. Locals are tired of your people taking pictures and demanding us to speak your language.  Sorry, I do not mean to sound rude. You know well you are destroying our city. If you have any questions, please contact me ASAP. This matter is critical.  

Our reply

Dear Sir: We’re sorry that you are feeling resentment of “North Americans” coming to your city. We do not have any questions for you. But we do want to share something with you and here it is.

When we first moved to Ecuador in 2011 we were told by a wise Ecuadorian that resentment of the foreigner would eventually set in. However, did you realize you and anyone else that feels the same way as you are actually categorizing ALL North Americans into one box? What nonsense. Let me explain.

1. Most expats we meet and know would never expect the local people to speak English.  There may be a certain amount of foreigners that would expect this and we are sorry you ran into him or her. But most expats would never expect as such and are at least trying to learn Spanish. Please bear with us as we fumble with the Spanish language.

Solution: When you meet an expat that expects the locals to speak English, remember it is a small percentage of North Americans that think like this, not all of them!

If we suffer mistreatment from an Ecuadorian *untypical* Just curious, how would you like it if we categorized all Ecuadorians into one group and said in a blog article “Ecuadorians mistreat Americans?

Let us tell you a little secret. The small minority of “North Americans” that expect locals to speak English are actually embarrassed and really self-conscious about the fact that they can’t speak the local language; and is the reason why they feel the need to blame the locals for not speaking English. It takes some of the awkwardness off of themselves. Later on down the road, they will think about it and realize how silly it was to think such a notion, even if they never express it aloud. This type of person will end up leaving Ecuador sooner or later, and that’s the reality of it.

Anyone that would expect a turtle to quack like a duck is truly wrapped up within themselves and they will not last long where their silly ideas are not entertained 24/7.

Solution: Learn to detach from things that are outside of your control. It’s really his problem unless you make it yours.

2. Sure, there are gringos that promote Ecuador in the wrong light. Did you happen to also contact the two online travel magazines that tout Cuenca every chance they get, making it sound perfect and nothing negative ever?  We agree, this kind of behavior is inappropriate because the “way” they promote Ecuador is misleading. It's misleading people because it does not provide a balanced view. A more balanced view could filter out some of the foreigners with inappropriate expectations and consequential bad behaviors.

We always provide the balanced view, holding nothing back, sacrificing popularity and we’re called whiners for it and told “if you don’t like it here, why don’t you move back to the USA”?  Uh, who said anything about not liking it here?

The travel abroad touters have agendas with huge followings and they bring folks here just like them, with agendas…BUT NOT ALL EXPATS HAVE AGENDAS. The ones that really love your country and are happy here do not have an agenda except for wanting to live a peaceful life for themselves and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

Let us ask you a question: Don’t you think it would be more appropriate for you to go to your own ministry of tourism board and raise your concerns there? Maybe you haven’t done that because you know that contacting your local people may not be the solution since they are the ones that have promoted Ecuador in the last 2 to 3 years (the time you specified in your email to us above when Cuenca changed for the worse) by making television commercials, hiring tourist companies and the travel media to promote Ecuador to the world with “ALL YOU NEED IS ECUADOR”.

Do you think perhaps, you should stop blaming the North Americans and start looking at the source of where the traffic originates from?  It was your own people that have brought much of this foreign traffic to Cuenca Ecuador through the “ALL YOU NEED IS ECUADOR” promotions.

Between the “Ecuador Ministry of Tourism” promoting Ecuador all over the Internet, radio and on websites and YouTube, plus the travel abroad magazines with huge followings begging people to move here to this “cheap paradise”, and House Hunters International in Cuenca, again for the third time, you better believe Ecuador is going to have a lot of foreigner traffic; and as we have already agreed and said, it does ruin a place overtime because you cannot control people and what they do.

People become what they decide and choose for themselves to be, not what others tell them they have to be or should be.

Trying to integrate one culture into a completely different culture doesn’t really work. As much as people like to say they have integrated here, they really have not. No matter how you slice it, adding the color blue to red will always make purple and you may not like the color purple but it is what it is.

It’s inevitable and that’s the bottom line. Ecuador may become another Panama and Costa Rica because a group of people high up in your country wanted the tourism traffic and most of that traffic comes from North Americans, now your country must deal with the consequences of their actions because they didn’t think about the cultural costs (changes in the landscape) in the long run.

You say that you do not mean to be rude but in the same sentence you tell us that we are destroying your city.  Separating the wheat from the chaff takes effort and diligence.  Those of us putting our efforts into giving a more balanced view, and there aren’t many of us, are not the ones you should be venting your frustrations at.  


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