I’ve called Riobamba, Ecuador home for the past four months. Nestled in the middle of the Andes Mountains some 2,754 m (9,035 ft) high, it is home to roughly 226,000 inhabitants. Being from Los Angeles and having lived in such megacities like Bangkok and Hanoi, Riobamba was a huge change for me.
The city’s nickname is “Riobamba”. (Frio in Spanish means cold.) When I first got to Riobamba, I had forgotten what it was like to be cold without the help of an air conditioner. The joys of living in Southeast Asia for 4+ years. Add the altitude with the cold to get a double whammy on the body!
Riobambeños love their hornado (low roasted pork) At La Mercado de Merced, eight to ten women will start screaming at you to get you to their stall.
I like the occasion fried chicken, but in the four months I’ve lived in Riobamba, I’ve tried at least eight different fried chicken places. It’s better borderline ridiculous how many versions of Pollo Ejecutivos are there is this small city.
No visit to Riobamba is complete unless you try juice made with Chimborazo ice. Baltazar has been climbing the volcano for many years, bringing big slabs of ice for the city.
There have been plenty of weird in Riobamba also. My favorite is the strange animals you wouldn’t think you would see walking down the street.
People love selling stuff on the streets here. There’s the usual bag of fruit for $1 or empanadas from a styrofoam box. My favorite is the rug vendors. My question is why?
Saturday is shopping day in Riobamba. At Plaza Roja, you can find all things made from alpaca wool there. Many indigenous people from the area sell their goods there. And you’ll definitely get a better deal compared to those from Otavalo.
The market also offered unusual things for sale. Acne problems? Snail gel right from the snail!
Sadly, visa woes and other issues have ended my Ecuadorian journey earlier than expected.
But in the four months I’ve lived here, I met some wonderful people (aka my students).
These lovely group of people was part of my first class at the school. They tried their best to keep up with the grammar, all while making me laugh.
These three were part of my super chatty teenager class. They talked way too much and made me want to pull out my hair. But they also worked hard and did amazing things in a short amount of time.
I got to see my class “graduate”, meaning they finished the last level. I only was with them for two months, but it was a pleasure teaching them.
I’ve also met some wonderful coworkers. There’s this crazy Kiwi in the middle. She scared me at the beginning with her loud voice, but in the end, she became a trusted friend. And to the Curious Vicuña, I will miss your various references to body parts as replacements for swear words.
And then there was this guy. He does love to talk!
Thank you so much for making my short time in Riobamba memorable. Abrazos!