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Things You See In The Mariscal

Ecuador, Quito, La Mariscal

Mariscal I-Spy

Next to the Centro Histórico, La Mariscal is Quito's most visually captivating neighborhood, where, in place of colonial architecture and grand plazas, there is an assortment of riffraff (both local and foreign) and curious sights. If you spend any amount of time in La Zona (hardly anyone calls it Gringolandia), you're likely to spot some or all of the following:

BBQs – These homemade charcoal grills that pop up on sidewalks, grilling pinchos (shish kebobs) and billowing smoke are great for a cheap, post-bar snack.

Child Labor – Kids wander Calama well past their bedtime, selling gum, candy and cigarettes. It's recommended that you not buy from them, as this will only encourage whoever's employing them (their parents?) to continue denying them a normal childhood.

Chivas – These colorful, open-sided party buses roam the streets at night, full of party people drinking canelazo and dancing to pop music. No hop-ons.

Clausurados (closures) – Someone in accounting messed up, so your favorite watering hole is shuttered and stickered with announcements that it's closed until further notice. (To be fair to the number crunchers, Quito's accounting rules change so often that it's hard to keep up.)

Clown pants – Available at the Mercado Artesanal and adored by backpackers, these garish, loose-fitting pants aren't actually made for clowns; they just make the wearer look a bit clownish. The comfortable pants come in a variety of outrageous colors, including purple, orange and green.

Motorcycles – On weekends, a number of Harleys and Hondas will be parked in front of Dragonfly and Coffee Tree in Plaza Foch. Kick one over and see what happens! (Just kidding. Please don´t.)

Police – Officers, easily identifiable by their fluorescent yellow vests, gather in groups on street corners to chat. Occasionally, they patrol the streets on foot or horseback.

Public Vomiting and Urination – Just look away.

Roqueros (rockers) – They bring their long hair and leather to the corner of Lizardo Garcia and Reina Victoria, hanging out in and outside of Ambrosia.

Sidewalk Sleepers – After a lively evening, the Mariscal can be deathly quiet in the morning, making its sidewalks the perfect place for someone in need of a bed (not to mention, a shower and a change of clothes) to get some shuteye.

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01 Jun 2010

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