Rumba on the street

And when they woke… it had all been, but a dream.

Fiesta Ibarra. Imbabura, Ecuador

With flavour          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

The food appeared to be endless, for it was served abundantly and all day and all night. Inside the house, but mostly outside, where the grills were loaded with all types of meats, spicy sausages, and of course, pork rinds. Some of the spits included cuys, a kind of a field mouse, brought in from Pasto, in the south of Colombia, near Ecuador.

La salsa Juayua, Sonsonate, El Salvador
Salsa           Juayua, Sonsonate, El Salvador

The dancing, extended out to the street, to the rhythms of salsa; since there were so many people arriving, they just didn’t fit inside the house. Still today, those days are remembered by the people; and it is said that during the good luck party, not even the street dogs went hungry.

An incontrovertible fact, witnessed by all present; is that as time went by, the dogs wouldn’t touch the corn arepas, even if they were well done, for they had definitely acquired the taste for the meats from the grills.

Rumbeando la calle Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
Street rumba          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

Till today, when somebody talks about being lucky, the reference is: as lucky as a Marroqui, or also: like a dog, in a rumba from Cali.


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The party

As so it came to pass,  one morning upon waking, he understood that the time had arrived… to try something new

La rumba Ibarra, Imbabura, Evuador

The party           Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

Meanwhile, the days and their corresponding long nights slowly went by, while the happy family, especially the very happy father of the family, partied non-stop, reveling in the magnificent and mostly spectacular good luck, whom without invitation had decided to splendidly visit the family.

Pasando la voz Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador
Spreading the word           Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

Always generous, he shared the celebrations with his neighbors. In the beginning, the guests were only those that lived on their street. But as the word began to spread, soon people arrived from all parts of Cali:

Allegados e indiferentes
Those close and those indifferent          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

those that knew them and those that didn’t, those that were close to them and those that were indifferent; but in the end, it happened that the majority of them only knew that the drinks and the rum were really good, and they were also, on the house.

But, all of them did have one thing in common; they had arrived in time to share in the good luck and the immense new fortune, with the Marroqui family.

Fiesta en la calle
Party on the street          Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador


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A lucky birthday

There are those that never risk anything in life; they are called cautious: they are recognized becuase of thier wing that never grow


El ángel Catedral de la ciudad de Puebla, Puebla, México
The angel           Puebla City’s Cathedral, Puebla, México


When Carito was on her sixth birthday, he announced that his luck was about to change, for the Baloto and the Manizales Lottery were both scheduled on the child’s birthday.

Mural al paso calles de Cholula, Puebla, México
Mural on the passing           Cholula’s Streets, Puebla, México


Sure of winning, he bet all his savings, and he even borrowed more to insure the bets.


What a surprise it was for all, starting with her father, when he won the prizes for both. Swelling with happiness, the parents decided to by a farm, in a more moderate climate, where it just wasn’t as hot.


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Drinks and gambling

For him, every step in life was a gamble and a bet. To bet little, so as, to lose little, was very much like living a little, so as, not to die next morning.

Arte callejero ciudad de Puebla, Puebla, México
Street art           Puebla City, Puebla, México


Three years later, she was pregnant once more, still without adapting to the hot weather of the city.


Mural en las calles ciudad de Puebla, Puebla, México
Mural on the streets            Puebla City, Puebla, México


In the same manner, she hardly touched her food, and that woman survived basically only a liquid diet. For that reason, both sisters grew up quite slim, and they also have this incredible capacity for ingesting all kinds of liquids, particularly if they belong to some type of rum, as well as, sugar-cane spirits. They go through these liquids as if they were water.


Calle de los sapos ciudad de Pueble, Puebla, México
The Sapos Street           Puebla City, Puebla, México


The sister’s father was passionate about betting and all sorts of games of chance. Every week without fail, he participated in the Baloto and El Chance lotteries. On occasions he won, but mostly he lost.


El vendedor de suertes Marsella, Risaralda, Colombia
The dealer in luck          Marsella, Risaralda, Colombia


Since his bets were small, he equally won or lost small amounts. Even though he no longer lived in Manizales, he never lost faith in the Manizales Lottery, and he invariably played it on occasion.


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In the land of the hot weather

La sombra Centro hist´rico, ciudad de Puebla, Puebla, México
The shadow           Historical centre, Puebla City, Puebla, México


When the two Marroqui sister’s mother was scarcely in her first month of pregnancy, the family moved south, taking advantage of a job opportunity for her father.


El farol centro histórico, ciudad de Puebla, Puebla, México
The lamp post          Historical centre, Puebla City, Puebla, México

Their mother arrived pregnant, and as it turned out, she never adapted to Cali’s intense heat.


El Zócalo ciudad de Puebla, Puebla, México
Central Park          Puebla City, Puebla, México


. During her pregnancy, she barely touched food, for the high temperatures fatigued her, and she just didn’t feel like eating. The poor woman spent her days drinking liquids to hydrate herself; and instead of gaining weight, she was growing thinner by the day.


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The summit of the Andes

And she never realized there was a world aparta and outside of her imagination>

La neblina Chipre, Manizales, Caldas; Colombia
In the fog           Chipre, Manizales, Caldas; Colombia


The Marroqui sisters’ parents (for that is how they are known in the circus circuits) were originally from Manizales City, situated in the lovely central region of Colombia. The city was settled in the highest reaches of the Central Andes’s summits, and from its vantage point, it dominates the views to the coffee zone.

Vista hacia el centro Manizales, Caldas, Colombia
Downtown           Manizales, Caldas, Colombia


The Santander Street is the only horizontal stretch in the city, and it is also its main street. All the rest of the streets either ascend abruptly or descend in the same sharp manner, as if they were vertical ramps in that rugged topography.

El pianista, Manizales, Caldas, Coombia
In concert           Manizales, Caldas, Colombia

Manizales could easily be considered the City of the Landscapes, for as the pedestrian walks its streets, he enjoys an uninterrupted view to either side of the street, the view extending as far as his eyesight is capable of reaching out.


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Talking about horses

Not even the horoscopes for that such a particular week could have foretold what was about to occur.

La hermanita Marroquí Calles de Ibarra, Imbabura, EcuadorThe emotion         The streets at Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador

“Are they from Morocco?” Oscar asked. After which they all laughed cheerfully.
Gabriel began to explain: “No, they’re more like your country folk, they come from your land. What happens is that their last name is Marroqui, but they are more Colombian than the arepas themselves!”


The parade          The streets at  Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador


“From Colombia, now how can that be?” feeling as happy, as intrigued to learn that more Colombians worked in the circus.


Horizon          Tarabuco, Sucre, Bolivia


“Sure man, they originally come from Cali. The elder sister will be your main customer. She takes care of all the programs related to the horses. If you only knew how they adore her! Besides, she is our best rider. She actually knows how to talk with them…”


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Lunch beneath the volcano

And, when they could not bear each other any more, nor,  their shared story, which bound them together with the strength of a steel chain: then, she violently exploded from the depths of her soul… and with the force of an indomitable volcano.


El Misti Arequipa, Provincia de Arequipa, Perú
The Misti           Arequipa, Arequipa Province, Peru


It was a Wednesday when Oscar and Gabriel arrived to the beautiful Arequipa City at noon. On the same day, they went to lunch with Gabriel’s two brothers and with Doctor Carmona.

Los balcones Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Perú
The balconies          The Plaza of Arms, Arequipa, Peru


Oscar found that he was completely amazed by the beauty of Arequipa City. In a certain way, it was difficult to believe that the southern Peruvian city could be so lovely. They went up to the second floor of a restaurant, right on the Plaza of Arms. Below, the view just stretched out. It was the perfect spot to observe the unrivaled charm of the city.

Vista al río ciudad de Arequipa, Provincia de Arequipa, Perú
View of the river            Arequipa City, Arequipa Province, Peru


From that point, everything meshed together to form an impressive portrait: the colonial buildings surrounding the Plaza, the church, but most especially, the absolutely stunning view of the gigantic crater of the Misti Volcano, dominating all the urban landscape.


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His own Boss

And the first thing he learned in this world was the art of obedience.


En el valle de la longevidad Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador
In the valley of longevity          Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador


“For the time being, I am quite content just by getting to discover the world,” Oscar remarked. “Now, I have been working for more than thirty months and in different parts of Ecuador. All this time, I have learned quite a few new things. I feel that every person I have run into has left a lesson behind for me; and what’s more, they each have left an important part of their own self in me.”

Jefe de sí mismo Parque Lezama, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Boss of his-self          Lezama Park, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina


«“At the moment, I have no destination, no plan and no course to steer towards. I don’t even have a dog to bark at me when I get home, my dear Gabriel. But undoubtedly, I have learned the art of being my own Boss.


Vivir sin fronteras Yunguyo, Provincia de Yunguyo, Perú
To live without borders           Yunguyo, Yunguyo Province, Perú


I may never settle down, just like the very occasional mails I get from my mother ask me to do,” he commented on that night, while they enjoyed a bottle of an excellent Chilean red wine.


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The vagrant roads

Once done with the make-up, a new life emerged. Once done with the removal of the make-up, she vanished once more to return into the the jar, where she had once emerged, until the next show.

La conversación San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México
The conversation           San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México

Certain events happen sporadically or simply never come to be. In this case, both clicked, immediately and instantly, and a spark of friendship struck between them. On that night, when their paths crossed, during the conversation,

El circo Concepción de Ataco, Ahauchapán, El Salvador
The circus            Concepción de Ataco, Ahauchapán, El Salvador

Gabriel talked about his life and his very unique lifestyle. As it was, together with his two elder brothers, they were, no more and no less, the owners of a circus.

En el carnaval Popayán, Alto Cauca, Colombia
At the carnival           Popayán, Alto Cauca, Colombia

They travelled all of South America with their circus, offering their show in the cities and towns where they passed in their vagrant path. This form of life, immediately posed a powerful attraction on Oscar’s adventurous soul.


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