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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Guayaquil, Ecuador: mollycoddled iguanas take over central park

Carlos with tall building near the iguanas

I arrived in Guayaquil, Ecuador, not knowing what to expect. I strolled along wide avenues with impressively grand buildings right up against the seafront and ended up opposite the pretty Cathedral. And there too was a delightful miniature park.

Now, in many parks I have known there are squirrels, nervously approaching humans in their sweet stop/go style of movement. In Guayaquil, the park has no squirrels, it has iguanas. They are calmer than squirrels, very still and mysterious. Immobile for minutes on end they resemble the dinosaurs of yesteryear, raising their heads, approaching silently.

An iguana on the bench

More a garden than a park, its' position is a breath of fresh air right in the commercial centre of this city of 3 million inhabitants.

When Manuel Suárez Seminario decided in the 1890's to spend part of his fortune in improving and modernising the park he could not have imagined smart black-suited employees crossing it hurriedly talking into their mobile phones, almost tripping over the iguanas. Maybe he did hope families would come with their children to feed them. And they do, lots of them. You can imagine the scene: "mummy, can we go feed the iguanas?" Could any mum reasonably be expected to say no?

And what do the iguanas think of it all? They - observant and silent, we - noisy and stressed. We, with only three hundred generations of urban living behind us, while they have enjoyed their life-style for thousands, millions of generations.

Mollycoddled and fed by humans from recent times in Seminario Park, they have enough sense to never leave their self-imposed confines. Why should they? They now have a home which they can call their own in the very heart of Ecuador's largest city.

Read more about iguanas at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iguana

Read more about Guayaquil and the Seminario Park at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guayaquil

January 2011

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=296 .
© 2017.

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