After a 27-hour bus ride to cross the Peru-Ecuador border to renew my visa, I really only spent two days in Guayaquil, the largest and apparently most dangerous city in Ecuador. What I’ll especially remember from those two days was my afternoon in Seminario Park.Seminario Park dates back to the late 1600s when it was inaugurated as Guayaquil’s Plaza of Arms or main square over a century after it was founded by the Spanish conquistadors. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that they changed the name to Simón Bolívar Park after a statue was erected in his memory to commemorate independence from the Spanish. Only six years later in 1895, the park would make one final identity change when Manuel Suárez Seminario donated money to have the plaza fenced and renovated.
And now? Although it’s officially called Seminario Park, the signs at the entrance welcome you to Simón Bolívar Park and it’s best known by tourists and Guayaquileños alike as Iguana Park.I estimate that there are over 50 green iguanas living freely in that plaza. It seems like a peaceful existence as they laze about on trees, grassy patches or even on the park pathways. It’s indeed peaceful for a lizard until a kid throws bird food on you, so you’re swarmed by pigeons. And all those non-existent tails and tail stubs speak of children past who stepped on them or pulled them off.
Nevertheless, I interpreted the iguanas’ “laziness” as a zen-like take-life-as-it-comes attitude and imagined their dewlaps as beards, symbols of their grandfather-like wisdom. After all, what do they possibly do all day other than meditate and reflect on the grandness of life? That iguana underneath the flock of birds didn’t bat an eye at the sudden onset. There was patience there. So Roy and I put our thinking caps, sat on a park bench and lazed the afternoon away alongside those wise lizards.
Check out this video clip of our visit:
What has recently inspired you to stop and think?
If you’re considering a green iguana as a pet, I highly recommend Your Complete Iguana Survival Guide!