Saturday, June 21st, 2003 – Day 123 (Part B)

Saturday, June 21st, 2003 – Day 123

PART B

I got a bus and arrived around 10.15am. I didn’t realize it was such a big festival. There were crowds every where including TV crews. I got to the area close to the reviewing stand. The procession of groups had begun. Each group had three minutes in front of the stand. All had a jeep with a sound system in front of them. They were all dancing or cultural groups. They came from all corners of Ecuador to get to this important event. So important in fact, that the president of Ecuador, Lucio Gutierrez was there. It was impressive but the weather was hot and stuffy. I moved across to the other side of the street where I could sit down of the side walk. The view was better there and there was a little shade. It was a long affair. It lasted until 4.00pm. As you can see from the pictures, it was nice to see all these groups from all over the country including African Ecuadorian from the North. You could see the open mouthed locals looking at these bare chested black men.

The festival broke up at 4.00pm but that’s went the party started. The whole town was getting drunk fast. This was binge drinking at its worst and by 6.00pm, people were falling all over the place. I saw a notice for the “Cockfighting Grand Final” which was to take place at 5.00pm at the “Colliseo Muncipal de Galleos”. I asked about a dozen people before a local could direct me to the right place. When I got there, they said it was delayed until 6.30pm. I had two beers close by in “Nana Bar”. The place was full of drunks and like a lot of places in town had no toilet. The guys just got to the front door, had a leak onto the street and went back to drinking making sure to shake my hand and offer to buy me drink on the way back to the seats. You get pretty tired of guys asking you the same questions, making conversation etc. , but I was civil and enjoyed my beer (1 US for a 600ml bottle). The place is like many in South America. Dar, with big mirrors on the dance floor walls so people can dance with themselves, watching themselves and taking part in syronished dancing.

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Pujli – Ecuador – corpus christi. (21-06-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Pujli – Ecuador – corpus christi. (21-06-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Pujli – Ecuador – corpus christi. (21-06-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Pujli – Ecuador – corpus christi. (21-06-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Pujli – Ecuador – corpus christi. (21-06-2003)

I went back to the impressive cockfighting stadium when was wooden but had a nice high ceiling and tiered seating. I watch the people come in (entrance was one dollar). Mostly men of all ages were present. Of maybe 100 people present about 25 % were owners. They came with their leather bags which contained there fighting cocks. Most had two bags with them. They were weighted and groups of people baited each others animals to get them in the mood. Then they match up birds. This goes on for about 20 minutes. Then they go back to the corners taping an extra claw to the back of each leg of the cock. Theres a four-minute limit for fights to move the fights along, consequently, theres a lot of draws because the other bird has to die or become incapitated to win. The two owners and the referee could stay in the ring. There was serious betting doing on in the audience. There was also a lot of heavy drinking going on. There were about 40 cocks present and there owners put them in closets for safe keeping. I only stayed for three fights. In each case the fights took about 10 minutes with 1 draw and two outright wins. The wins came about by one cock basically pecking and clawing the other to near death. It was 9.30pm and I am sure it would have kept going until dawn.

Cockfighting, sport of pitting gamecocks against one other. Though popular in ancient Greece, Persia, and Rome, cockfighting has been long opposed by clergy and humane groups. Massachusetts passed (1836) the first law in the United States forbidding cockfighting; England banned it in 1849. Cockfighting jousts take place in a small circular pit into which the gamecocks specially bred and trained for fighting are placed beak to beak by their handlers and then released. A combatant wins when its opponent is unable to fight, or is killed. Metal spurs, occasionally attached to the fowl’s natural spurs, make action deadlier. The sport is still popular in Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and the Middle East, and despite its illegality parts of the United States. It is nearly always the focus of frenzied gambling, as anthropologist Clifford Geertz noted in his famous study on the Balinese cockfight (1973).

Click on the picture to see it in it´s original size

Pujli – Ecuador – Cockfighting Ring. (21-06-2003)

The streets were pretty deserted but a lot of rubbish from the festival. I found that the bus back to Latacunga were very infrequent at this time. I waited on the road back for 15 minutes with others until a pickup jeep appeared. It is custom here to take take passengers if you have room. About seven of us jumped in. It was a cold journey driving along back to town but I was happy to be on the move. I had an early night since I have been up all hours. The reception guy welcomed me back after my night away. Still tired and sun burnt from Friday. Did not bother collect my backpack from storage. Watched some TV.