Planet Kapow 40 : Otavalo

IT'S FUNNY: that crossing a border automatically entails a marked change in culture. It shouldn't, really, if you think about it; they're often arbitrary lines scrawled across a map. South of the Rio Grande you're just trading one Spanish-speaking country for another, uno tras otro, cathedrals and plazas and rosaries and elegant shoes all the way to Argentina, and yet - The mountains, already, are spectacular as our bus pushes the first few kilometres into Ecuador. Beyond anything we've seen. We pass a soccer game at a large stadium. The lineup to get in is a great mob, stretching several hundred metres down the street. The howl of sirens. The smell of distant fires. Vendors on the bus are selling pizzas and hamburgers. A laidback rapper gets on and spits some verse for the passengers - "I know we're all doing it tough for money," he says afterward, walking the aisle with his hat out, "So only give something if you've got something to give. Maybe you've got some spare change leftover from your pizza or hamburger. Anyway, I hope you have a beautiful trip, compaƱeros." Read the rest of the story: