Cocks


For some reason South American bus stations are usually nowhere near the cities. Quito's was no different so instead of taking an hour and a half on two buses I got in a cab. My driver drove, even by South American standards, like a fucking lunatic. He must have learnt how to drive on Mario Kart, he flew from lane to lane with his foot flat to the floor then hammered on the brakes when he realised the empty lane he'd cut across in to had a parked car in it. When I told him I was going to Otovalo from the station he made a phone call and after swerving to avoid one of Wario's green shells he said he'd take me all the way for $70. If he'd have asked for $70 not to take me, I'd have paid up on the spot. Somehow we made it to the station after 45 minutes of me clinging on, him waving his fist and beeping lots, he had even had a second horn installed in case his first beep wasn't loud enough. Then it was a much more relaxing bus ride to the market town of Otavalo.

As well as wandering the market that on Saturday engulfed the whole town I visited Parque Condor, a bird of prey sanctuary. I don't like seeing birds caged up, doesn't seen right. Bugs like corners so sticking them in a box is probably a bit of a treat but birds are meant to roam free. These had been rescued from somewhere worse and couldn't be released because they were now reliant on humans for food so it's not too bad but I still can't take as much pleasure as I should from some of my favourite animals. Two wild humming bees on the way out did the trick though.

Another of my activities in Otavalo had me setting aside the bird  lover in me to go and to cock fighting (And before anyone posts a comment, no I wasn't one of them). Let's just lay out the facts of what an evening at the cock fighting entails:

  • There are thirty fights and each fight has a time limit of ten minutes and twelve seconds - no idea why.
  • There were men, women and children present and most had a cockerel to fight.
  • Before a cockerel goes in to fight he is prepared by taping a curved metal spike to the back of each leg, clearly not enough damage was being done by the beaks and feet alone. 
  • There is a referee with a whistle, not sure who the whistling is for, and another man who helps pull the birds apart when their metal spikes get tangled or one is seriously injured. 
  • Although there is some effort to stop the fights when one chuck was struggling, out of the five fights I saw there were at least two lifeless birds who didn't get to go home - dying in the ring counts as a defeat as well so a pretty crummy way to go. 


The sport is brutal, more so than I'd expected and I didn't enjoy it as such; it was interesting, in a way, to observe from a cultural point of view though. It's like if there was a public hanging, you might all be against it but if it was going ahead regardless you'd at least be a bit curious.


Links Topics : https://news.c10mt.com/2012/11/cocks.html