Monday, February 18, 2013

This little piggy went to market...

I'm happy to say that I don't have dentures, especially not the sort that would prevent me from feeling the joy on the back of a motorscooter as shown in this inspiring ad in today's paper. I do though currently have a chipped filling in a molar, thanks to a particularly resistant bit of pork crackling yesterday. And - ooh look, a coincidence - pigs are looming large with me at the moment, because I'm writing about Ecuador. Now don't get the wrong idea: life in the cities like Quito and Guayaquil can be pretty sophisticated, and in the country we stayed in some fabulous lodges.
But we also went to village markets, and that's where we saw our most memorable sights (Galapagos excepted). Talk about vivid! Not just the clothes, though there was a lot of indigo and bright pink and yellow; but the bustle, the animals, the heaps of fruits and vegetables, the mouth-watering smell of roasting and frying food, the music and chatter and laughter. You tend as an outsider to think that everyone around you knows what's going on and what they're doing, but the lady above seems a bit nonplussed by her newly-purchased pig; and the man who's beginning my story for me clearly hadn't realised what even I knew, that pigs and horses don't mix. Good luck getting his pig home. I think he's going to be walking...
But the most startling pigs that we came across were in a little town where a festival was in progress, with the main square and the streets around filled with stalls selling balloons, toys, flowers, with music and fortune-tellers, the church full of people holding candles - and of course food everywhere: doughnuts and sweets and other treats, plus yummy empanadas; and then this, which made even a life-long crackling fan like me think twice.

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