Tourist

Whoever comes to Otavalo knows, as he stands among the Indians in their cemetery, or at their market, that he is a ghost. He, the tourist, is like the Yankee in King Arthur’s court. He is there, and yet he is not there. He could show these people the wonders of which he has learned in school and college, and they would laugh with him at his brilliance, and when he was gone, they would return to the ways they never really left.

Surely, the cholos of Otavalo are members of a feudal society, but you an enter with them into their cockfights, bet with them, talk with them. But whatever conversation in Spanish or Quichua you may pry out of an Otavalo, you are not allowed to forget that you are not talking with him, but making him talk to you. You probably don’t exist. The priest, the teniente, the mayordomos, the hacendados, these exist. The man from the city is a ghost.

– Albert B. Franklin, Ecuador: Portrait of a People

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