Yesterday we spent the entire day touring in and around the relatively small town of Vilcabamba, called by some “gringolandia” because of the very large proportion of expats living there compared to the relatively small overall population of the town. The clerks at every shop or restaurant that I went into spoke from good, to very good, to excellent English and several had been to Los Angeles; unlike my experiences in Cuenca, Quito and Loja where few if anyone spoke English and if they did speak English it was not much better than my poor Spanish. I have found the Ecuadorean people to be friendly, helpful and pleasant regardless of the ease or difficulty of the language barrier. We stayed overnight in the Hosteria de Vilcabamba, a very lovely series of small lodges set in a much larger parkland with views of the majestic Andes Mountains in the background. It was high school graduation day in Vilcabamba and so you will see at least one photo of some local girls just back from the graduation ceremonies wearing their black and white uniforms. The children, both boys and girls remind me of the simplicity of myself and my high school classmates at our graduation in 1956!! Wow, was that a long time ago. There are a whole series of rather, much smaller communities, surrounding Vilcambamba but not too many expats live their although some do. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the Vilcabamba town square before boarding our bus for the ride to the airport in Loja and our flight back to Quito and the Swissotel for the International Living conference from today until 7/30. Ecuador has impressed me greatly as an excellent place for a Noth American to retire. In the next few days I will share the new information that I glean from the conference and also include some of the photos from the past several days that I have not included so far. I hope that you are enjoying your vicarious tour of Ecuador through my eyes and ears and my writing.