Market day

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Saturday, May 3, 2008

We have quickly learnt that if you want to do anything in Ecuador during this time of the year, you need to do it before 2pm. After that time it starts pouring down and it doesnīt stop until the next day - its mathematical!

Saturday is always the market day in Ecuador, and the locals bring all their stuff to sell from all around the cities: animals, fruit, vegetables, electronics, clothes, etc.

Latacunga has a particulary colourful market, and the best part of it is that it is not made for gringos but for locals, so you can actually see and buy what they see and buy, and at the same prices (if you speak the lingo).

Anyway, we enjoyed a couple of hours walk around the market. The different smells in the fruit and vegetable sections were just superb. We also tried a couple of new fruits (zapoto and another one with a name similar to lichi and which tastes exactly like it.)

On market day, the locals also love to come for lunch at the market, and dozens of women set up their kitchens in the market with tables and benches (German beer hall style). You can eat all sorts there, but we decided to give it a pass...

Sadly little else to add on our day as it was just reading in the public park and relaxing. The weather was just not good enough to do a tour to the Cotopaxi volcano (fully blocked with clouds and rainy).

The town of Latacunga (as with the rest of Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru) is full of young kids offering to clean shoes. There must be some psicological issue with locals in these countries and cleaning their shoes...or perhaps its the fact that it rains a lot and the drainage is no good so shoes need constant cleaning.

In any case, as we are either wearing trainers or trekking boots which dont need cleaning we havenīt been able to give much business to local kids...

In the main square at Latacunga, they did insist in any case, and when we said that it was impossible to clean trainers with black shoe polish they passed onto "a little coin please" phase. Veronika made them even happier when she took out three small bars of Kinder chocolate and offered it to the three kids. Suddenly three huge smiles appeared under their blackend shoepolish faces. We added a bottle of lemonade which was way too suggary for us and they had a field day! The last picture shows how they started to fight karate style after finishing the snack (not serious fighting though!)

Its tough to see all these kids that are all around 7-8 years old working all over the place, but its not surprising when the 2007 report on corruption places Ecuador as third after Haiti and Venezuela. The money will never get to these kids...and thank god that its a socialist government...or not!
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