Gringoland

There’s an area of modern Quito called La Mariscal. Our first taxi driver called it Gringoland.

Ecuador seems to have a more significant American influence than Colombia. Apparently if you’re googling retirement destinations from the US Ecuador is likely to feature prominently. Plus the tourist industry here is better developed (thanks, Galapagos) so there’s a big market for the kind of American family that might come and buy a whole pile of package tours and enjoy paying for them all with USD. Gringoland is ground zero for all of that. It’s full of fast food chains, and brands like Northface selling at full price.

It all feels kinda gross. It’s totally out of step with the charm of old Quito, which we would have thought would be a natural focus for tourism. The abundance of karaoke bars that are pumping before sundown also suggests a possible hint of sex tourism. And, we’ve read, there are more muggings in Gringoland each year than anywhere else in Ecuador.

All that said, we’ve headed there for dinner every night, and that trend is likely to continue. We relish the variety of food on offer. Last night it was Indian, tonight Vietnamese. Fiona’s lemongrass beef tasted more like goulash and she had significant menu envy of my pho. We also trawled a few travel agents to get ourselves a decent deal to the jungle. That’s one travel experience you don’t want to do on your own.

4 thoughts on “Gringoland

  1. So what exactly IS a ‘gringo’ do you think in this context? wealthy ‘white’ visitor? could be wealthy other than ‘white’?

    1. Generally speaking gringo means American, though it can be used more generally for (white) foreigner. So we frequently say that we aren’t gringo.

      I don’t think it means rich in this context. There are other parts of Quito that are rich and attract rich Ecuadorians. But Gringoland is more like an American tourist service centre. All the service staff speak English. Many of the menus are only in English. In fact the one tonight stated that tax and service is included. That’s 100% standard in Ecuador (and need not be specified). But of course both these things are (in an infuriating way) generally not included in American menu prices.

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