Wikitravel suggests those visiting Cuenca get out and see one of the neighboring towns. Having already experienced Banos, we chose to travel to Sigsig, a small town about an hour-and-a-half outside Cuenca. Round trip bus fare was $3.25.

It’s a scenic bus ride through the Andes made even more interesting during Carnival. People spray water and throw water balloons at the open windows of the passing buses. Yes, I got drenched a couple of times and squirted by a water bazooka gun the moment I set foot in Sigsig.


But the weirdest water-related thing I saw was on the ride back to Cuenca. We stopped to pick up some passengers in a barrio and I watched this group of young men hold one of their friends in a chair while another held a basket over his head and a third poured a bucket of water in the basket, dousing his head. I supposed it was water boarding Ecuadorian-style.

The townspeople of Sigsig were enjoying their small-town carnival. Roasted guinea pig seemed to be a favorite. Nope. I couldn’t bring myself to try it having had hamsters and guinea pigs as pets growing up. I did try to take a photo of the roasted critters, but the chef was adamant I not photograph her cooked carcasses. Perhaps she’s the Colonel Sanders of Ecuador and has a secret recipe which she plans to take national with sidewalk stands offering the succulent rodent. It’s finger-licking good.

Speaking of more edible food, we found a great little restaurant for lunch. We figured it had to be good when all the local policemen began filing in to eat. Flat Stanley really enjoyed sharing John’s ample meal.

This was a particularly colorful float, but the driver had to lean out the side window to see the road.

The Andes are unusual mountains. Think something the size of the Rockies, but with grass growing on them. People plant corn on every little patch of land possible — even up the slopes.

Can you imagine what the farmer of this corn patch would do if he ever saw the never-ending cornfields in Nebraska — home of the corn huskers? Probably think he had chewed too many coca leaves.

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