Pic of the day 19 – Stormclouds over Valentine’s day

On Friday 14 February we travelled back to Guayaquil from Canoa. The journey of approx 250km took us 7 hours, using 2 buses, with numerous stops as ever, even though much of the journey was on an ‘executive’ coach! Guayaquil was as hot and humid as ever, but overcast too, and as the afternoon proceeded the clouds got darker.

wpid-IMG_20140214_192305.jpgThis pic was taken about 6pm just before a storm swept in, with thunder, lightning and rain. We are staying once again with a family member in Samborondon, the heavily gated & secure middle class neighbourhood. They were away for the night, so we sought food and relief from the heat in one of the many shopping malls in the area. Avoiding the expensive restaurants in the area, we found ourselves a vegetarian plate of food & a drink from ‘China Wok’, for $10 in total. This was one of a dozen food outlets set around an open-plan seating plaza inside one of the malls.

The place was rammed with people on Valentine’s night, serenaded by some standard singers covering standard love songs. Looking around we saw these people were not the middle class ‘Spanish’ Ecuadoreans of the area, but the poorer darker-skinned workers – domestic workers, tradesmen, retail workers etc, many with their families. It seemed ironic that these folks, unable to afford the goods in the shops they work in, or live in the houses they clean, should spend their Friday night eating cheap food amidst such opulent shops. But they seemed happy enough for now, perhaps like us they welcomed the coolness of air-conditioning?

Or perhaps they were secretly plotting the overthrow of their masters? Guayaquil is Ecuador’s most divided city along wealth distribution lines. The better off exhibit clear paranoia of the poor millions outside their gated areas, with a real sense they are keeping them ‘back’ from overrunning the wealthy, for now at least. But for how long will both sides accept this situation?

Background article on Guayaquil: http://www.Andes.info.ec.com/en/news/guayaquil-faces-new-york-and-calcutta-single-town.html

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