March 21, 2010

Oddities

This was a roadside food stand, one of about a half a dozen all roasting pigs like this in La Paz Ecuador, (3085 meters elevation!).  They were also doing interesting things with all the stuff that used to be inside the pig.  I had a coffee and a cheese sandwich. Yes, the lady is roasting the pig with a tiger torch.  I may try this at home instead of one of those fancy ceramic barbecues.  Seems to work pretty good.

The Indian ladies in Ecuador wear fedora hats.  Sometimes they wear one on top of the other, or maybe top off their fedora with a ball cap.  These ladies are from Tiobamba, where they favor dark colored felt hats.
This lady is from is from Cuenca
where the white panama is the only hat to have.

The police in Columbia and Ecuador use mostly motorcycles, and mostly Kawasaki KLR 650s.  In Columbia they might also ride a Suzuki Freewind which is a DR650 with a large tank and windscreen similar to the KLR or my KTM (and not available in Canada).  They often ride two to a bike. 

When I was in Quito two cops on one bike rolled up to a kid about 20 feet in front of me, jumped off and made him hand over his jacket which he was holding in his hand.  It was hiding a knife.   I am pretty sure it was a gang thing, the kid looked OK to me, about 16.  The cops must have been looking for him, because they went straight to him and it was all over in seconds.

In all the cities in Ecuador I have stayed and looked around, there are hardly any stores as we know them.  What they have is large buildings called Centro Comercials.  They are divided into small stalls, each with their own proprietor.  The stalls are grouped by whatever they are selling, all ropa (clothes) together, all food stuff together, all cel phone accesories together etc..  It is like a city wide farmers market and flea market. 
There are also lots of small tiendas, like the old mom and pop corner stores we used to have before 7-11 and Macs took that market over.  Tiendas are everywhere, at least one or two per block.  Many do not let the customers inside, you have ask for what you want from the sidewalk.

One of my personal gripes is that hotels everywhere seem to always have bizzare plumbing fixtures in their showers that I can never figure out how to use first thing in the morning, when all's I want to do is to take a damn shower, not to take some damn IQ test on how to make it work.  On your left is the grand champion of evil showers, located in the Aqua Hotel and Spa 'Bet (sic) and Breakfast' in Cuenca.  This thing will hose you four ways from Sunday, it is a drive through car wash for people.  I hosed down the entire bathroom trying to figure how it works.  Woulda been great if they had hot water.



I was having a hamburguesa with a yogurt strawberry drink (very popular all over, very good), when this kid and a smaller one walked in with a plastic grocery bag and proceeded to empty the leftover contents of the plates that diners had left behind.  He also finished off a left over half empty coke bottle, and returned the empty to the counter man, gave his brother (I assume it was) some chicken bones, and took the bag out to his mother (I assume) who was selling lottery tickets on the sidewalk in front.  About ten minutes later he was standing in front of me, staring at me and my yogurt drink.  The pic tells what happened next :-)   

I have only had a few kids come up to me ask for money.  I gave the first one a peso in Mexico.  A guy I was talking to said I should not do that, as the kids can make good money begging from tourists and then they drop out of school.  That made sense to me, so when a kid asks for money, I ask them why they want the money, usually they say 'por comida'  (food).  I then say OK, I will buy you some food, they usually go away at that point, with me shouting "¡Va escuala!" at their disappearing backsides.  I don't what this kid was asking for, he did not say anything, but he got my yogurt.

Speaking of escuela (school) in most of Latin America kids wear school uniforms, or uniform clothing, usually a navy skirt for girls, navy pants for boys with a plain white shirt or top.  In Ecuador it seems that school does not get out till 6 PM, which is about when this picture was taken.  They do get out around noon, and I believe they do not go back until 3.  From what I can see, kids are very well behaved here. 

In all the parts of Ecuador I have visited so far, everybody wears a sweater in the morning and evening.  When I ride my bike I wear practically all of my cold weather gear.  The weather is the same as Calgary in the summer all year round. 

This was another roadside food stand, looks yummy don't it?  I wasn't real hungry, so I just had a coffee.

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