A view of the Amazon at sunset in Ecuador.
Credit: Lydia Jessup

Until today, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had been avoiding extradition to Sweden by holing up in Ecuador's London embassy. Today, Ecuador offered him asylum.

Although it's still unclear how Assange would be able to accept the offer — he is, after all, open to arrest as soon as he steps outside the embassy — GlobalPost has written him the following letter of advice:

Dear Mr. Assange,

We hear you've had an invitation to move to Ecuador. It's not exactly one of the Hollywood endings we predicted, but congratulations all the same. You've probably had plenty of time over the past two months to study guidebooks inside Ecuador's London embassy, but in case you missed some important details, here are a few facts you might want to know about your potential new home.

  • The life expectancy in Ecuador is 75.94 years on average. For women, it's 79.04 years, but men do less well — they tend to live to 73. In Australia or Sweden, you could expect another six years.
  • The median age in Ecuador is 26, so at 41 you'll be a bit older than most.
  • Ecuador is one of the world's "Megadiverse countries" — it holds over two-thirds of the world's species. We're sensing a potential Tumblr to fill up your time.
  • You should visit Mt. Chimborazo! It's the point on Earth closest to the sun because it sits on the equatorial bulge. It has an elevation of 20,561 feet. Please send us a postcard.
  • When you visit the equatorial line, make sure to go to the new marker. The monument that was built when the French “discovered” the line is actually a fifth of a mile off. The pre-Incan peoples got it right. Again, we'd like a postcard.
  • Make sure to exchange your British pounds for US dollars — Ecuador switched to the dollar in 2000 after the sucre was severely devalued.
  • Go puenting! It's Ecuador's version of bungee jumping. You jump off of a bridge attached to ropes instead of bungee cords, then swing under the bridge like a pendulum.

  • At 6 miles by 5 miles, Ecuador's Sierra Negra Caldera is the largest volcanic crater in the Galapagos Islands — which you should also definitely visit — and the second largest in the world.
  • Speaking of the Galapagos, Charles Darwin rode giant tortoises there. If you ride them, the Ecuadorean government won't be so happy, but you can at least look at them.
  • Check out the ">marine iguanas! Darwin described the famously homely creatures as "hideous-looking" and "most disgusting, clumsy lizards." They are only found on the Galapagos.
  • The Andean condor is the national bird of Ecuador, and is one of the largest birds in the world that can also fly. They weigh up to 33 lbs and have a wingspan of 10 feet.
  • There's also the Amazon. Need we say more? It's the largest rainforest on Earth, covers about 40 percent of South America, and is home to a variety of ecosystems, plants, animals and undiscovered wonders.
  • You can eat lemon ants. Delicious.
  • Painter Oswaldo Guayasamin is from Ecuador. You could check out his work and even visit his home.
  • If you get bored, here are some great places to visit: Cuenca, Mindo and Baños. There are also a bunch of great beaches, like Salinas, Montanita and Puerto Lopez.
  • Lastly, you should proably know this: the media self-censors. President Rafael Correa sued El Universo newspaper columnist Emilio Palacio, as well as three of the paper's directors, for an article criticizing Correa when he was trapped by a police protest on Sept. 30, 2010. Correa recieved $40 million in damages, and some of the directors fled to the US for asylum. Correa later pardoned them, but self-censorship nevertheless has become a buzz word. So, Mr. Assange, you might have plenty to do...



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