Before Christmas I traveled around southern Ecuador. I went to Loja, Vilcabamba, and to Cuenca. Most Ecuadorians say that all of the most educated people of Ecuador live in Loja and that they have perfect pronunciation. The only thing I noticed about this was that I could actually understand the helpers on the buses there. I didnt really find Loja that interesting, I went to a few parks and plazas but it wasnt really that exciting. Although when I got back and mentioned this to a few Ecuadorian friends they thought that I was crazy and I just didnt know what to do while I was there. Readers Digest wrote a piece on Vilcabamba a couple years ago because there is an incredibly large population of old people, although Im pretty sure I didnt see any of them. They say that people grow so old there because of the tranquil life style and the clean mountain air. Then I went to Cuenca, which I had already been to, but I returned because the first time I went there were some museums that were closed that I really wanted to see. Then I headed back to Quito for Christmas and New Years. After New Years I went to Guayaquil with a friend. Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador, its a port city on the coast. Its not a super touristy city nor did we feel like we were in Ecuador. We decided that it was kind of like a cross between New Orleans and Miami. Even though it isnt very touristy we found things to fill out two days there. There is a board walk that runs along the waterfront with lots of monuments, look out points, restaurants, a museum, a garden, and stores. We also went to a renovated neighborhood called Las Penas, we walked up 445 stairs in this neighborhood to get to the lighthouse and a fabulous view of the city. One night we went on a night time cruise in the river and we found a market with super cheap things that probably didnt arrive in Ecuador legally.