Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Guinea Pig Races are Back!



The guinea pig races, once common on Avenida Jimenez, disappeared for a while. Perhaps the guy who puts them on - and there can't be many people with guinea pigs and the skills to train them - had taken his rodents on the road for a while. We encountered the races during today's bike tour.

Recently, he's returned, with his crazy, exciting athletes.

"These aren't rats!" he says. Throughout the Andean region, the critters are called cuys, and make a popular food. You can order up cuy in Colombia's Nariño province.

Line 'em up!
The rules governing guinea pig races can vary. The guinea pigs line up facing a dozen or so numbered upturned plastic bowls, each with an entryway cut into its side. Spectators place coins on a bowl. Sometimes, the winner is the first pig to enter a bowl, sometimes the second, sometimes the last one. Or, sometimes the guy sends off just one guinea pig. If the piggy enters your bowl, you're the lucky winner and double your 200 pesos or something. It's hard to get rich through the guinea pig races - unless you own the guinea pigs.

This girl is all attention.
Ladies and gents, place your bets!
These guys won't pose!
And he's off!
There he goes, eye on the goal. 
Almost home, looks like we've got a winner!
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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