All going well with both my trip into the Amazon and my ability to manage the scheduling feature on WordPress when you’re reading this I will be on my way out of the jungle, back to Quito. Hopefully, my supposedly insect resistant clothes along with the deet repellant will have done what they are supposed to and those winged threats to my good health, mosquitoes, won’t have feasted on me.
I also have all my fingers crossed that any tarantulas and anacondas will have maintained a respectful distance. And that I’ll have seen a Toucan. I’ve wanted to see one of those gloriously gaudy, large beaked parrots ever since we had a book about them when our children were little. However it goes, chances are I’ll be brimming with new stories and photos to share.
In the meantime, until I return to the land of regular WiFi, as promised in my last post, here’s my story about the changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace.
It takes place every Monday morning, at 11:00am. We got there early in order to get a good spot to view the action. But when we arrived the crowd was already sizeable. People waved their fists, some waved the flag. They were all chanting … make that shouting. I didn’t understand a word of it.
But shouting in any language is still shouting. This local woman paused to check out the fuss.
Oh, oh, I thought, remembering the general NZ SafeTravel advisory to stay away from protests and large crowds. Had we wandered into a demonstration, I wondered. We’ve done that before, in Bangkok.
And then I noticed the police and the guards. They were looking remarkably relaxed.
Can’t be too much of a problem I said to John, look at those guys. In the second before I snapped this shot, both these guards had been checking their phones.
After almost an hour of waiting I was sorely tempted by those empty chairs. It wasn’t as if they were roped off or had reserved signs on them. Fortunately, I didn’t give in to that temptation. Soon those seats were filled with hundreds of school children.
President Rafael Correa and other dignitaries appeared on the balcony. The man standing next to me, who had been chanting with the other “protestors” shouted “Viva La Presidente!
Yep, my worries were unfounded. These people were supporters of the president.
There was wild cheering from the crowd and I’m pretty darn sure the president waved at me. Okay, he might have been acknowledging his vociferous supporter but John and me, two whiteys that we are, did stand out in this crowd.
The band marched by,
the flag which had been lowered was raised once again,
And as the band struck the first chords of the National Anthem the children jumped to their feet, the plaza reverberated with the sound of two thousand or more Ecuadorians in full voice.
Whatever their differences, the crowd was united in their national pride. God knows their independence was hard-won.