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2000-11-15 - 10:44 a.m.

(Im on an updating spree - four entries in two days! - so make good use of the "previous" button down below.)

On Sunday, Marianne and I went to the markets at Chordeleg and Gualaceo, about 30 kilometers outside of Cuenca. (Melchior has abandoned us for the Galapagos Islands, although Im meeting up with him next week in Vilcabamba to travel around Ecuador for a while. By his email accounts, the Galapagos Islands are spectacular, although almost prohibitively expensive, by Ecuadorean standards, at any rate. His emails are interesting to decipher - he speaks English so well that I forget that it isnt his first language, but his emails are written almost entirely phonetically.)

It was a good Spanish day - as Marianne and I learn more Spanish, we are able to better communicate with each other, and I spend more time with her than anyone else in the school. Shes always up for doing something before our afternoon classes, and together weve done a lot - the market at Feria Libre, the thermal baths at Baos, the hike up to Turi for a spectacular view of Cuenca. Weve both decided to stay on at the school for an extra week, and have opted for the "mini gruppo" lesson - were paying extra for a class with just the two of us.

So Sunday was the market just outside of town, full of sights and sounds and vendors hawking their wares.

The market is geared more to the locals, with a fair share of practical things like socks and underwear. But Marianne and I like the fruits and vegetables, piled high, some of them unfamiliar, although were learning the names.

I like the animals the best, something that Marianne cant quite understand, being that Im a vegetarian and all. Maybe I just dont feel guilty because I know Im not going to eat them. Here are some chickens.

And a local delicacy - cuy! Or guinea pig, as its known in English. I had a pet guinea pig when I was in elementary school, but Im still fascinated by them here. Its even more amazing to see them on a spit, roasting over an open fire. Marianne finds the whole idea of cuy disgusting and refuses to eat it. She gets mad at me when I say, "No es diferente que los vacos y los pollos."

And my favorite part of the market - a whole roasted pig! Once again, Marianne couldnt understand my fascination. I think I took half a dozen pictures of whole roasted pigs.

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