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! :-)

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