June 03, 2006 GMT
Street scenes

My life is divided between two main activities. Either Katie and I are on the road watching the landscape slide by or I'm in some interesting town checking out the sights. In this chapter, I will say little and let the pictures do the talking. Here are some of the visual stories that make life interesting here in South America.

The centrepiece of every city is the main plaza. Katie and I head there everytime we hit a new town. The centre of life in the evening, in the day the plaza is home to old men and shoe shine boys. My shoes have never looked better. For 30 cents, the young lads, often under 10 years old, make my riding boots and Rockports shine within an inch of their lives.

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In Peru and Chile, surrounding the main plaza, invariably called the Plaza de Armas (armas as in arms or guns), the most venerable churches and classest buildings were erected. Many of these lovely buildings are hundreds of years old.

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On just about any given day or occasion, a parade is likely to break out around the plaza. The reason could be military, religious, funerary or mildly political, as in a simple call to ban smoking.

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As commonplace as the plazas are the open air markets, many of which run every day. It's always interesting to see what the local region produces. Business is brisk and often has nothing to do with tourism. It is everyday life in America. The term America here by the way means North and South America. They take exception to the good folks from Estados Unidos (USA) considering themselves as The Americans.

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Down a typically narrow aisle, I come across a man selling jewelry whispered to me as being "original". Having just come from the tombs of Sipán, I recognize the items as the dangley bits from a priest's breastplate. So here is where some of the huanqueros ill-gotten goods end up. I refuse and explain my respect for Peruvian law. The vendador doesn't react with the least bit of guilt.

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Now here is a place Joyce would love: witch doctor row. Bottles and boxes large and small, llama foetuses, dried insects, herbs, spices and lots of non-identified items are all for sale here. Didn't see any bones or skulls but I didn't look really hard in case I found something that would haunt me.

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On the lighter side, I did see stuff I could recognize - and even put in my mouth without puking or turning into a toad.

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No town, North or South America, is safe without the likes of a superhero on guard. Chances of roboman or Witchdoctor Juan getting me are just about zero with Superman around.

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The next image tells the story of May 29th. After five weeks in Peru Katie and I enter Ecuador. Sadly we have to leave our compañeros Pat and Sho behind as they arrange transportation by sea or air to the USA:

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In Cuenca, a visit to KTM del Ecuador results in fast, attentive service guided by Willy Malo Jr. If Katie is happy, msc is happy.

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Posted by Murray Castle at June 03, 2006 10:59 PM GMT
 


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