Guayaquil, Playas, back in Quito and Ipiales (Colombia)

Hello everyone! I’m again in Colombia, which I will cross quickly to reach Panama in Central America.

From Cuenca, I went to Guayaquil, where I met again Eloisa, the lady known at the “Mitad Mitad del mundo,” the one of the cockroaches photo. From there, I returned to Quito, where I met again Sandra, the girl of the first forest tour.
After, I returned to Colombia, retracing the same road where, one month ago, I was searched by police 3 times in an hour. However, this time, nobody cared about me, maybe because not even Dekaro can be so stupid to import drugs in Colombia.


Guayaquil by night. It’s the first city in Ecuador by population, about 3 million and two hundred thousand.


Until a few years ago, it was a pretty dangerous city without anything beautiful. Today is safer and modernized, especially the area along the Malecon, on the river, and the hill of Las Penas, from where I took these photos.


The end of Malecon, south.


Boats at Playas, a beach about 60 km from Guayaquil, where I went with Eloisa. On the Pacific Ocean, which I will reach again soon in Central America.


In Playas, nearly every boat has a painting of a saint or a Madonna for protection. And practically all have the symbol of Barcelona football club. But there is one minor difference, the symbol of (true) Barcelona has the letters FCB. The fake has BSC. Indeed, the football team in Guayaquil has shamelessly plagiarized the Barcelona team. Apart from the symbol, it has even called its team: Barcelona! Unfortunately for them, however, they have totally failed to plagiarize the rose of players and style of play, because for that… you need money!
To make everything even more absurd, the team of Quito said, “oh well, you did that? Then, we steal their jersey!” Which is, in fact, identical to that of Barcelona (Spain).


When the fishermen came back to shore, many birds came to eat fishes caught in their nets.


Fishermen pull the nets.


A dog runs back and forth trying in vain to drive away the birds.


As in the Hitchcock movie: The birds.


This bird was curious. Of a different species from the others and much smaller, with its call terrorized birds four times bigger, making them flee for taking the most delicious morsels. Even in front of me showed an unabashed fearlessness.


The entrance to Barrio La Ronda, in Quito. A street with plenty of bars.


Quito at dusk. In the background, the Panecillo, a hill with a giant statue of a winged Virgin, always visible (in the picture isn’t yet lit).
I went up there with Sandra, and we dined at a beautiful restaurant, with a window from which we could see all Quito at night, hundreds of thousands of tiny lights set over the hills.


Me, under the statue of Panecillo. I hold a glass of “canelazo”, a sort of hot cocktail with fruit and aguardiente. At the restaurant, we had warm wine with a slice of orange inside.


Back in Colombia, in front of the spectacular Sanctuary Las Lajas, in Ipiales, on the border with Ecuador.


Many pilgrims come to visit the shrine, sometimes asking miracles or healings to the Virgin.


A street near the sanctuary.


Ipiales’ market.


A girl at the market.


People at the market.


Now I am again in Pasto, a city for some reason snubbed by the “Lonely Planet South America” guide, which mentions it only in a note on how to arrive in Ecuador. Instead, it is pretty and pleasant to stay, certainly much more than other cities described with many pages.

The animal market, cockfighting, Quito and the half of the world

Hello everyone! This time a photo story of the animal market in Otavalo, the cockfighting, Quito, and the “mitad del mundo” (the half of the world) where the equator passes, about 20 km north of Quito.


Otavalo comes alive on Saturday when the whole center becomes a giant market, mostly indigenous, from the square Los Ponchos all around until out of town, where there is the most interesting part: the animal market , with pigs, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats, alpacas, guinea pigs, etc. …


Child selling a dog.


Another child with dog.




“From a certain age, I abjured eating meat, and the time will come when men such me will consider the killing of animals as the killing of men.”
-Leonardo da Vinci


Some women were there with just one animal to sell.


Cats in cage.


Woman bought a kitten.




Little pigs meet each others.




Guina pigs.


Child caressing a sheep.


Two women.


The cockfighting is more or less as you would imagine it or as you saw in some Hollywood movie. From a small door behind the curtains of the market, I came into a dirty and cramped place, with people a bit shady and dollar bills passing back and forth for betting…

Each cock has a coach (I guess it’s also its owner) who spurs him during the fight. Like football coaches, each of them has his own style: from those stressed all the time to those who remain impassive.
Even the cocks have their own fighting style: some were constantly thrilled and continuously pecking. In contrast, others preferred to remain almost stationary to dodge, for suddenly starting quick pecks at the opponent’s neck.

The bad thing is that the match ends with the death of one of the two cocks . If I knew it before, I would haven’t gone. But there is no doubt that the fight has its charm. It seems something from another time.


The last match I saw was the most beautiful, also because it ended in a draw, so both cocks were saved. Looking at the two coaches, I was curious to know who would have won: one was a big braggart that also incited the audience, the other seemed like an Eastern sage, quiet and focused.
In the first minutes, the braggart ran around the ring even more than his rooster, spurring with sweeping gestures and shouting, while the other coach almost didn’t participate.


However, after about 5 minutes, they both started to behave similarly, giving just some silent advice to their cocks, from time to time.
At about three minutes left (on 10 total), the fight became very harsh. The two roosters pinched each other with ferocity and violence, without thinking to defend themselves, and the public became excited. There are some rules that I didn’t understand because sometimes the referee stopped the match, as in a boxing break, sparking protests from coach and fans or, vice-versa, he was requested to interrupt for some irregularities.
At the last minute, the two cocks were exhausted and bleeding, almost couldn’t fight, and even the coaches knew it would end in a draw and didn’t spur them anymore.


Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is located 2800 meters above sea level. The beautiful historical center, the “Old Town”, is mainly composed of colonial buildings.


A traditional dancer at “Plaza Grande” in Quito, where is located the government’s palace. Here, almost every day, demonstrators demand their rights or protest against government decisions. Indigenous, animal rights activists, trade unionists, etc…
I was told that often president Correa comes out to discuss directly with the activists.


The church of San Francesco. In the historical center of Quito, there are many baroque churches, extraordinary notably inside. Their style is unique, “the school of Quito”, born from the fusion of indigenous and Spanish styles, including Moorish.


One foot in one hemisphere and one foot in the other, at “mitad del mundo” (half of the world).

I don’t know why Ecuador got this sort of “copyright” related to the equator. A quick view on the world map shows that it crosses at least 10 countries. So why has Ecuador taken its name, the heritage site “mitad del mundo”, the various museums on the equator, and so on? Yes, I will be more critical with the report of the places I visit from now on. Many things still don’t add up.


At the “mitad del mundo” I met two very nice ladies from Guayaquil, the second-largest city in Ecuador. Here we were in a small museum there, dedicated to insects and where it’s possible to play with giant cockroaches.


The experiment of the egg on the equator. The egg is balanced on the head of a nail. And indeed it is true, it doesn’t fall, but I never tried to do it elsewhere, so I don’t know if this is possible only there, and, actually, I’m skeptical. Please try it for yourself and let me know. Worst-case scenario: omelet for dinner.


I answer the comment:
Thank you Yannick! And good luck with the Chelsea final! :-)