Afternoon in Old Town
Yesterday, six of us went to Old Town for the afternoon to find Halloween costumes. Old Town is full of random shops with the most varied collections. Most of the streets have some sort of specialty, which means ten shops in a row selling the same thing. After asking around for about an hour, we found a street with all party and costume stores. They had balloons, face paint, masks, costumes, accessories, hats, Dora the Explorer plates, and lots of other great stuff.
Watching the afternoon rain clouds come over the hills towards us
While we were walking there, we stumbled across the most politically incorrect procession I have ever seen. A parade came from around a corner and filled Plaza San Francisco. The people up front held a banner that said, “Los Negros Saludan.” It was a line of about a hundred people, the first twenty or so in black face! They were wearing black mesh over their faces and had black masks. They started to dance, and we realized one of them was wearing an ape costume! I started looking around the plaza and realized there were huge blown up portraits of black people in Ecuador. So this was some sort of celebration of African culture, but without any actual black people, and done in an extremely insulting manner? I still don’t really get what the celebration was about…
Ecuadorians in Blackface
Were they celebrating African culture or insulting it?
After shopping for a few hours, and stumbling across some really cute courtyards and cafes in Old Town, we ended up in a cheap local eatery. No meal in Old Town is complete without some chicken feet, so we got our fair share. For around 3 dollars each, we each got soda, juice, soup, meat, rice, beans, salad, and aji (chili sauce). I’d say it was a successful day in Old Town.