Things happen no matter where you are

A few years ago, we slept through a typhoon in Kyoto, Japan; and now we’re faced with an earthquake in Ecuador.

We were having our last dinner on board the ship, a grand finale to our week-long visit to the Galapagos Islands, when our guide, Ivan, interrupted with an announcement.   An earthquake had struck the mainland in coastal Ecuador twenty minutes earlier, and we were under orders, as were all ships in the harbor, to head out to the open ocean in case of a tsunami.  Minutes later we heard the anchor coming up and the ship was underway.

Our ship docked at the island of San Cristobal the next morning, and we flew on to Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador and near the coast. We heard that roads were damaged, and on the drive in from the airport saw buildings cordoned off with huge cracks. A bridge had collapsed. In Ecuador, more than 400 have died and perhaps thousands have been injured. The country has mobilized to aid the hardest hit coastal communities. Donations centers have been set up around the country.

Our travel plan had been to hop on a bus the next day to head up the coast to spend a month at the Spanish Language School in Canoa. Now, with the earthquake, that area of the coast had been devastated and in a state of emergency. We came to understand after watching the TV coverage that a trip to Canoa was not going to happen for us.

Clearly it was time for a reassessment.

Rule #1: Don’t live in fear of what’s ahead. No matter where we are and what we do, there are risks.   Traveling to other places has its risks but so does staying home. (For example, a friend warned us of potential earthquake dangers in both California and Oregon. Don’t spend time there, he said. He was so worried about those places that he forgot to mention Ecuador!)

Rule #2: Be flexible. Expectations sometimes need to be adjusted as well as plans. That’s true whether you’re home or abroad.

In less than one day, we had new plans formulated, researched, and confirmed.


The Cathedral in Guayaquil appears untouched, and we hope tourists will not cancel travel plans to any of the areas of Ecuador not affected by the earthquake.

To be continued … but before going forward, we’ll start with going back in our next posts to our Galapagos Islands’ trip.

And, yes, we did see the Galapagos tortoises.

And, yes, we did see the Galapagos tortoises.



April 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Ecuador, South America - 2016 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Things happen no matter where you are

  1. Cliff Mail says:

    We always have some rough plan bs sorted for possible scenarios. We also live under the threat of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions but the reality is that you are at greater risk driving a car than suffering from some natural disaster, just like air travel is pretty safe relative to driving a car. Heck, if you are alive there is always a risk of death. I am sure your Plan B will be an adventure, have fun.

  2. It’s bad luck to have to change your plans, but great to hear that you are both safe and sound. Wherever you go will be marvellous anyway. I’m looking forward to reading about your visit to the Galapagos Islands.

  3. Glad you weren’t affected! It’s so awful to see what’s happened here in Guayaquil but when I see the pictures coming out of Manabí my heart just breaks.

  4. Ginny says:

    I actually was thinking about you today as I walked my great-niece past your house on Market St. My niece bought a big old house on Mayfair and I was babysitting. I remember some good times in that place. I took a picture of it for you and I’lll send it along soon. Maybe if you change your plans you can include the class reunion in August here?????????

    • If all goes according to plan, we’ll be in Cusco, Peru during the reunion so I’ll be thinking of you all. What a long way we’ve come since putting on those plaid school skirts and my living on Market Street!

  5. plaidcamper says:

    As you say, things can happen anywhere. Be safe, and looking forward to reading about the Galapagos!

  6. Marti Weston says:

    Glad you two are OK and that your Galapagos trip went well. Flexibility is a word that I’d like to needlepoint someday on a pillow or wall hanging…

  7. Merrill says:

    Glad to hear you are safe. Flexibility is the name of the game. I know you had reservations and so much pre-planned. I hope you hadn’t prepaid. Looking forward to seeing your photos and hearing about your new plans.

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