Will Living in Zamora, Ecuador extend your life?


Zamora in Ecuador is renowned for its natural beauty as well as its resident’s long levity.   As a result this little town, in the middle of nowhere, is an irresistible draw for those wishing to extend their own life span as well as a major stop on the backpackers trail.  The population consists of a mixture of indigenous people and expats.  The expat community appear to own a substantial amount of the accommodation, food, tours, arts and crafts shops in the area.  There are however, a small amount of people who have also retired there seeking the elixir of life and an even smaller amount who are living in the Ecuadorian equivalent of squats.  I often wondered what the local indigenous population thought about the type of foreigners who settled in their towns and villages.  Generally if the new comers have money to spend, generate income or create jobs for the local people they seem to be tolerated.   Grunge, dreadlocks, really shabby clothing on the other hand is not well regarded and I often saw individuals turned away due to their appearance and apparent lack of hygiene.  One local women, after she’d sent a boy dressed in clothes that would look shabby in a poor area of India packing, made a face of disgust, told me he  was dirty and that the locals didn’t like them  hanging around.   Them being those of the hippie/grunge ilk.  It pays to look reasonably well presented in Ecuador.  

There appears to be no explanation for the extended and healthy life span experienced by the indigenous population in Zamora.   Yet ex-pats (mainly American) move into the village in hope that the legend is true and that they may benefit from it.  From my observations it isn’t working.  Maybe someone should mention to them that being obese or unhealthy before settling in the area is not conducive to an extended life.   My theory, regarding this myth, is that over hundreds of years any of the indigenous population with a susceptibility to illness/disease died young.  The hardier humans survived and passed their  genes on to the next generation and so on until most of the population possessed resistant to illness genes – hence a longer life.  Well that’s my layman’s theory anyway.  Hang on – I think someone got there before me – Darwin and I are obviously on the same page!!!     So to the overweight 60 year old American female expats, tottering down the dusty dirt roads on high heels, heavily made up to disguise ravaged faces, with their dog rats in tow – it’s not gonig to work.  You’re probably not going to live longer just by moving to Zamora.  You see you may be able to change your location and eating habits but you sure as hell can’t change your genes.

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