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

Hello everyone! I am again in Colombia, which I’m going to cross quickly to reach Panama in Central America.
I went from Cuenca to Guayaquil, where I met Eloisa, the lady known at the “Mitad Mitad del mundo”, the one of the cockroaches photo. From there I returned to Quito, where I saw Sandra, the girl met in the forest. After, I returned to Colombia , retracing the same road where one month ago I had 3 big searches in an hour. This time, however, nobody cared about me, maybe because not even a 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 has been modernized, especially the area along the Malecon, on the river, and the hill of Las Penas, where I took these photos.


The end of Malecon, south.


Boats at Playas, a beach about 60 km from Guayquil, where I went with Eloisa. So I met the Pacific Ocean, that, however, I shall see again soon in Central America.


In Playas nearly every boat has a painting of a saint or a Madonna for protection. And virtually 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 and, apart from the symbol, has even called its team: Barcelona! Unfortunately for them, however, they have failed in any way 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 it? And then we steal the shirt!” That is exactly identical to that of Barcelona (Spain).


When the nets of fishermen came to shore, many birds came to eat the fish caught.


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 full of bars.


Quito at dusk. In the background the Panecillo, a hill with a large 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 little lights set over the hills.


Me under the statue of Panecillo. I am holding 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.


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


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


A street near the sanctuary.


Ipiales market.


A girl at market.


People at 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 to which are dedicated various 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 , whith 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 cat.




Little pigs meet each others.




Guina pigs.


Child caressing a sheep.


Two women.


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

Each cock has a coach (I think also owner) who spurs him during the fight and, just like football coaches, each has his own style, from who stresses out all throughout the match to who keeps staying almost impassible.
Even the cocks have their own fighting style: some were always excited and threw pecks continuously, while others preferred to remain almost stationary to dodge, and then suddenly run very quick peck on the neck.

The bad thing is that the match ends with the death of one of the two cocks . I did not know, otherwise I would not have gone there. But there is no doubt that the fight has its charm, looks like something from another time.


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


However, after about 5 minutes, they both start to behave similarly, giving just some silent advice to the cock, from time to time.
At about three minutes left (of 10 total) the fight became very harsh. The two cocks pinched each others with ferocity and violence, without thinking to defend themselves and also the public became excited. There must also be 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, requests of interruption for 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 more.


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


A dancer at the “Plaza Grande” in Quito, where there is the palace of the government and almost every day there are demonstrators who demand their rights or protest against government decisions. Indigenous, animal rights activists, trade unionists… This was a traditional dance group.
Apparently it is not unusual that the president Correa comes out is to discuss directly with the protesters.


In the historical center of Quito, there are many baroque churches, extraordinaries especially inside, with a unique style, “the school of Quito”, born from the fusion of indigenous and Spanish styles, including Moorish. This is the church of San Francesco.


One foot in one hemisphere and one foot in the other, at “mitad del mundo”.


But now I have a little polemic note : I don’t understand why the Ecuador has taken this sort of “copyright” on the equator. Doing a quick check on the world map I saw that it goes on at least 10 states. Why then the Ecuador has taken the name , the site “mitad del mundo”, the various museums on equator etc …? From now on I will be more critical in the analysis of the places I visit, because many things do not add up.


At the “mitad del mundo” I met two very nice ladies of Guayaquil, the second largest city in Ecuador. Here we were in a little museums around there, dedicated to insects and where is 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, but I never tried to do it elsewhere, so I don’t know if this is possible only there, and actually I’m very sceptical. Try it for yourself and let me know, if it goes wrong, you will eat omelette.


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