We joined the crowds celebrating 200 years of independence. President Correa was there to give a speech, but too far away to hear and see from our vantage point. There were floats made of styrofoam figures representing each of the provinces of Ecuador, and an endless parade of soldiers in a variety of colourful uniforms demonstrating specific purposes. I did not know that the army was so extensive, but Erika informed me that it is in fact too small and was not able to prevent Peru from taking a chunk of the land away from Ecuador. I was enjoying myself until I had my very typical Ecuadorian experience. I was using one camera to photograph the scene and left my spanking new 'point and shoot' in the pocket of my jacket (believing it was safe, silly me). I was aware that I was a target for pickpockets but focussed on my backpack and my more valuable camera and lenses. I was acutely conscious of being watched, and at one point a woman indicated that I was to be more careful. Nevertheless, only too late did I discover that the pocket of my jacket was empty and that the zipper was open. I did not feel it happen at all.
That put a damper on the day. Erika was unimpressed. This happens to everyone all the time and there is little that one can do to prevent it. I should not have left it in my pocket. I am lucky that I was not assaulted or threatened at knifepoint.