Tuesday, February 12, 2013


WARNING:  This post is not for the fainthearted, nor is it for Vegans or Vegetarians or animal-rights enthusiasts!  So, if you are any of these, DO NOT read, and especially DO NOT look at the graphic photos.  Hey, don't say I didn't warn you!!
CARNAVAL KIDS!  Powder and water-attacked and having fun!!


We're in our rainy season, I think!!  I keep asking different people, including Ecuadorians, if we're in our summer or winter season, and I get a different answer from everyone.  So, I've concluded that there is the rainy season and the dry season, the warmer season and the colder season.  I'm still not sure how long the rainy season is because, again, I get different answers (someone must know!!!!).  Today, it rained on and off (not like Eugene-Springfield, Oregon where it is mostly on for 8-9 months a year - really!!).  Bo and I love the weather here, even the rain.  There is always blue sky, and the rains freshen up the city and keep the landscape lush and green.

Also, it's CARNAVAL IN CUENCA!! The city is quiet and ghost town-like today compared to a typical bustling Monday in El Centro.  All the stores, mercados and vendor services, bus transporation, and restaurants are closed today and tomorrow, and Ecuadorians are doing balcony water-dousing and walk-by and drive-by water balloon or water gun attacks on pedestrians who are available targets.  Or, perhaps one might get squirted with fruity-smelling liquid from a spray can.  Yes, I got water-bombed by a passing vehicle attacker on my legs today while out walking with our friends (and so did they, only with the spray-can goop).
"Good Sport Gringos" attacked on Carnaval!!!!
 I'm glad I had on my microfiber quick-drying tights!  If you read about Carnaval, you'll know more about this wild and wet religious fiesta that has been celebrated for hundreds of years and actually used to be a way for people to satisfy their relational enmities with violent bloody fighting on the streets.  Apparently, it's calmed down some over the years but still continues, hopefully in a less violent manner.  Recently, a new law was passed that strangers cannot be attacked in any manner or there will be a $7 fine and a few hours in jail as a consequence.  Yeah, right!  Like anyone's paying attention to that.  There were police officers everywhere today, and kids and families were still running around attacking each other with spray cans, boxes of powder and water ballons.  Personally, I don't enjoy this particular fiesta after what I've read, but it's the Ecuadorians' tradition, and they seem to love it - or at least those who are participating in it seem to. 

In spite of the possibility of being water-doused from a balcony above or water-bombed by a passing vehicle, we walked around the city anyway this afternoon (brave souls that we are), and ended up around the 9 De Octubre Mercado, where a few vendors were set up cooking CUY.  It smelled so delicious as we approached the vendor stands, our friends decided to go for it (brave souls that they are!) and try Cuy for their first time since arriving in Cuenca.  Soon, they were indulging and feasting on this freshly smoked Equadorian delicacy.  For me, it was an opportunity to photograph the vendors' open fire cooking method.

A strong and delicious barbecue smell suddenly wafted through the air right to our nostrils as  we were walking along the city streets.  So, we crossed the street and came upon several vendors cooking and selling their delicacies outside the 9 De Octubre Mercado area.  Yes, it was CUY on an open fire......

So, how exactly do they prep and prepare these little Ecuadorian delicacies?

Well, first the vendor places the cuy over the cooking pole and threads it through (top & bottom photos)
Then she ties the head....
.......and ties the entrails.
The Cuy is continually basted and hand-turned over the open fire.
This vendor team had two poles each, continually turning and basting four Cuy at a time.  They told me it takes approximately ten minutes to cook a Cuy this way. (They were cooking and selling their Cuy like hot Cuys, I mean Cakes!!)
At the request of our friends, the Cuy was cut and served with a side of Ecuadorian-style Papitas Y Choclo......Oh, and a Coca-Cola - the Ecuadorian drink of choice!!!!
.....and our friends had a captive Ecuadorian audience as they tasted CUY for their first time!!  Cuy is a delicacy and delight for Ecuadorians.  They are cooked and served as a way of showing honor at weddings, birthdays, and other fiestas and celebrations.  I think Ecuadorians will find any excuse to serve Cuy!!!  It costs from $6 to $8 for an entire Cuy which is one serving for an Ecuadorian.  Our friends shared one CUY and didn't quite clean up the tiny bones like their audience did - but, hey, it was their first time learning the art of eating this little critter!

It was another delightful day walking through the Carnaval-wet and Cuy-cooking streets of our beautiful city, Cuenca!!  What's not to love about Cuenca and Fun Friends????


  1. Not sure I could be brave enough to try eating guinea pig...you are my heroes. LOL!

    1. Donna,
      Of course, you must! If you want to be a true Cuencano!!
      Actually, it is very delicious if you can get it out of your mind you're eating a guinea pig. Very boney though. There will be many new foods to introduce yourself to when you come visit. Get ready!!!


  2. I am ecuadorian living in Guayaquil, I am old woman and I never taste this food,and I never will, and most of the people of this side of the country never did it, for us, seem like eating a big rat, very discusting, only ecuadorian living in LOs Andes can eat this poor animal. I like very much your blog.

    1. I so appreciate your perspective on eating Cuy. Being from the United States where Guinea Pigs are a domesticated animal, I can relate to your comment and feelings. I do know that the Ecuadorians we've met here do not consider a Cuy from the Rat family, although they are related to rats, not pigs. They are from the rodent family which includes rats, mice, hamsters, and beavers.
      I'm glad you enjoy our blog, and I hope you will continue to comment.

  3. Hi Linda and Bo, Glenn and I had cuy last time we were in Quito. We didn't like it all that much. Maybe it wasn't as "fresh". I don't know. Glad you're having all those great experiences. Continuing to pray for your visa needs. Mara

    1. Hi Mara,
      I think eating Cuy will be a personal experience and taste just like all other foods. Personally, I'm okay not eating Cuy again after Pedro's family so generously honored us back during Christmas in Yunguilla. However, I'm sure the opportunity will present itself again with other Ecuadorians we are meeting and will meet while living here - and to honor us is enough to make us want to eat the little critters. It's certainly not something I'm going to buy and eat on my own (nor Bo). Too boney and just the thought of eating a...... well, you know what I mean.
      Thank you for prayers. I can't wait to give you the answer(s).


Leave us your comments and I will respond with any questions you may have. Enjoy our Blog! Linda (y Bo)