Angie spent the summer of 2011 in Ecuador in to visit family, do “touristy things” and study the language. She already knew some things about the language because she had studied for four years with a professor who had lived in Ecuador. She visited cities and towns near the Andes, like the city Ambato and surrounding areas. She lived in Ambato, traveled to the Amazon twice, to the beach once and to the capital, Quito, once.
Angie learned the most about siestas in Ambato, where the downtown area would shut down almost completely between the hours of noon and two, called a siesta. (Angie noted a difference in pace between Ambato and Quito. While Ambato was more laid back, Quito was very fast-paced and reminded her more of an American town, generally without siestas.) Businesses in the city would close down, leaving open only cafes where families would gather to eat. Siestas are not as much about napping as they are about eating and spending time with family. Both food and family are very important aspects of Ecuadorian culture. Ecuador has a very family-oriented culture, with big, multi- generational families. During siesta, smaller units of families gather together to eat. Food is a very important export of Ecuador, with bananas, bread and roses being their main ones. It is even present on their crest. Lunch is the biggest meal in Ecuador. People get the most sustenance from lunch, eating meats and heartier foods in the afternoon. Dinner consists of fruit, bread and coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Angie also observed that people generally don’t return home until past midnight.
The importance of food is evident in Ecuador, as it instructs their pace of life and allows families to join together.