The coffee was good, despite the volcanic ash blowing into it, and the humitas, a kind of Ecuadorian tamale, were excellent. Sitting nearby, on another outdoor plastic chair, was a man with a Glock stuffed into the waistband of his jeans. He was just waiting.
Soon a couple of small policemen in gray fatigues came by.
‘Who owns the car? It has to be moved.’ one said, pointing to the Eddie Bauer Edition Ford Explorer blocking the street outside the cafe. A car like that probably costs about fifty thousand dollars here. There was a small Golf parked behind it.
‘My boss,’ said the man with the Glock, jerking his thumb at the enormously fat man in a business suit inside the restaurant. He got up and went to the Golf, and took out a couple of slim, glossy books.
‘Here. You might be interested in these.’
On the back was a photo of the owner of the Ford Explorer. The book was an anti-corruption tract, as far as I could make out, titled something like Towards a Free Press—Exposing Corruption. The young policeman took it, looked it uncertainly, and then walked away. Leaving a gringa thinking, what the hell?