Thursday, June 02, 2005

How much for the Alpaca?

Thursday is market day in Saquisili, a small town in The Ecuadorian highlands that transforms itself into the country´s largest market for the surrounding indigenous communities. People come from everywhere to buy the usual offering of pigs heads, alpacas, Roasted guinea pig, and blow up Spider man dolls. So I´ve left Kate in Banos and headed off to sample the delights of this famous market. I arrived in the mercado de animales just as a squealing pig is dragged off by it´s new owners. There were literally hundreds of people trying to sell pretty much every animal Ecuador has to offer. I can report the following prices in ascending order
Kittens $1.50, Chickens $3, Rabbits $7, Guinea Pigs $8, Pigs $30, Llamas $70, Alpacas $160, and Cows $600. All delivered with a hefty amount of animal cruelty. The locals were particularly practiced at the kick in the pigs head. I´m fast beginning to understand how Kate became a vegetarian. Other "highlights" included the table of chicken heads, the pile of pigs trotters, and the corner of cow hides. Luckily the market is not all about animals. DVD´s are extremely popular over here, you can even purchase the latest star wars film for $1. (Complete with people walking past the screen). There were also the travelling medicine men, peddling all types of cures that involved strange herbs and bizarre animal parts. The locals love to dress up in their everyday clothes as well. Felt pork pie hats with peacock feathers are very popular with the ladies while the Gentleman prefer the Adidas cap. Yep, it´s adventure tourism at it´s finest. Especially sitting down to a plate of who knows not.Whilst the locals look on as though I´ve just dropped in from planet Zok. With the amounts of laughs I recieved, seems the silly westerners are there to provide the entertainment.

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