Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Praise, Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-viii

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

read more

Preface to the 2017 Edition

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-1

If you’ve peeked at the introduction a page or two from here, you’ll recall a passage quoting a U.S. State Department officer commenting that “Ecuador has a severe inferiority complex.” When this book first came out in 1986, I had quite the opposite sensation. Reviews were...

Map

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 2-4

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 5-8

Where do Panama hats come from? One might sooner ask who was buried in Grant’s tomb, except that the answer is not so obvious. Panama hats are made in Ecuador.
The major trading post for South American goods in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was...

Part One

read more

1. An Opening into Heaven

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 11-17

One night during my first week in South America some new friends took me to a rocky crest high up on the east side of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. To our east rose the fullest of moons, so frighteningly near and brilliant that we could almost have reached it with a stepladder...

read more

2. Cuenca by Night

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 18-22

“Of all the earth, as far as I know it, Cuenca has the most perfect climate,” wrote Harry A. Franck, whose meanderings through South America in the early twentieth century led to the book Vagabonding Down the Andes. “Always cool enough to be mildly invigorating to...

read more

3. With the Exporters

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 23-30

Cuenca’s Panama hat exporters are the fulcrum on the scale between the weavers and the marketplace. A business directory provided a starting point, and I visited a handful to learn about their trade. Moisés Bernal Bravo met me at his Panama hat factory the morning...

read more

4. The Bus Plunge Highway

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 31-36

One of the hatters told me how to reach Victor González, an importer of raw toquilla straw from the coast. When I walked into his house, he started to hand me a fifty-sucre note. (The sucre was worth slightly more than a penny at the time.) I hadn’t yet introduced myself. “No...

read more

5. The City of Monkeys

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 37-42

When you mention Guayaquil, the people of Quito snicker. Monos, monkeys, live there. Uncouth, sacrilegious, lazy, no modesty or commitment to family or God. They lack ambition, culture, and spirituality. Worse, they admit it without shame. Quito and Guayaquil have...

read more

6. Toquilla Sunrise

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 43-53

La Libertad lies on the coast seventy-five miles west of Guayaquil. The drive was flat, quick, and happily uneventful. We parked near the central market, a one-stop shopping center crowded with vendors selling fresh fruit, meat, vegetables, soft drinks, luggage, and a hundred...

read more

7. Revolution and Seafood

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 54-61

The hats to be made from Domingo’s harvest, not yet even woven, had already been ordered by a company in the United States. Unknown to the pajeros in Febres Cordero, six months earlier, while the straw was in its final months of growth, a hat manufacturer in Texas had...

read more

8. Montecristi Fino

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 62-66

Throughout Latin America, generals, poets, and revolutions are honored with streets named for their anniversaries. Between Tijuana and Cape Horn, I am convinced, there is a street named for each day of the year. My bus ride ended on Ninth of July Street, a few blocks from...

read more

9. The Visiting Judge

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 67-70

Pre-Columbian artifacts adorned every costeña home, but only at the coastal village of Salango were they methodically mined. An archaeological dig was taking place there, run by the central government and staffed by a few Ecuadorans and many workers from Europe and the...

read more

10. Carmita’s Peace Corps Bar and Grill

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 71-75

Half a dozen workers from the dig at Salango pulled up at Carmita Yanchapaxi’s open-air restaurant for happy hour. King-size bottles of cold beer were plunked on the table as the sun began its slow descent beyond the Pacific Ocean. Carmita’s menu hung from the ceiling, each...

read more

11. Red, White, and Blue Yellow Fever

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 76-80

I arrived in Guayaquil and took a walk along the Guayas River. Ecuador is South America’s westernmost country, and Guayaquil, due south of Miami, is its westernmost major port. Coastal traders always docked here, luring sailors, fortune seekers, pirates, and diplomats in...

read more

12. Alfaro Lives

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 81-86

Thomas Nast’s short tenure took place during the sweeping reforms of Eloy Alfaro’s Liberal Revolution. Although temporarily out of office, the general from Montecristi greatly influenced the changes being wrought upon his country. His time was spent shuffling from...

Part Two

read more

13. To Market

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 89-93

The overstuffed sack holding Domingo’s toquilla straw had arrived in Guayaquil before I did. A truck picked it up along with a dozen more from Febres Cordero and other small towns nearby, and carried it to Victor González’s bodega near the corner of Colón and...

read more

14. Muscling in on the Sombrero Trade

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 94-96

Neither Isaura Calderón de Ojeda nor Victor González nor any of the tens of thousands of others in the Cuenca area whose income at least partially derives from Panama hats would be in the business at all were it not for B. Ugalde and Bartolomé Serrano. Toquilla straw...

read more

15. Henry Miller’s Nephew

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 97-100

The dollar is the imperial currency, not just in international trade but in the smallest víveres outlet as well. No matter how well acquainted you are with a Latin American town and make friends with its people, you still symbolize the gringo dollar. No one hesitates to ask about...

read more

16. Biblián Weavers

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 101-104

The seventy-five minute bus ride to Biblián the next morning was smooth enough to sleep through. By now I knew not to react to sudden stops, frequent swerves, or excess commotion. Biblián, whose Sunday market I had visited, attracted me because it was far enough...

read more

17. Incas and Indians

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 105-110

Instead of visiting the Ojedas the next day, I went north, where the Cañari and other Indians lived. The Indians of the Andes—does there exist a worse-treated, more downtrodden slice of humanity? Subjected to whimsical rule, living in decrepit huts, horrendously overworked...

read more

18. “All We Have Is Ourselves and Our Straw”

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 111-116

After I had found another hotel, Adriano González picked me up in his Travelall for the ride once more to Biblián. The fifty-five-year-old comisionista was going to show me the most critical transaction the sombrero de paja toquilla goes through: the sale from the weavers scattered...

read more

19. Italian Specialty Cooks

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 117-120

“Where’s the next bus for Déleg?” An elderly Indian nodded toward an old green and white school bus precariously parked on a steep hill. The bus, marked Trans Panamericano, departed Azogues in forty-five minutes, more than enough time to get to Filanbanco, a major bank...

read more

20. Romancing the Hat

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 121-124

Panama hat sales at Resistol Hats in Texas had not kept pace with the company’s growth. With the retirement of Irving Marin, the company’s straw-hat expert, there was no one left who had ever been to Ecuador to meet the exporters face-to-face and see the supply line...

read more

21. Travails

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 125-129

The weavers whose hats end up with Serrano, Dorfzaun, or the other exporters are not paid a whole lot more for their work today than they were ten, fifteen, or twenty-five years ago. Despite tentative attempts to form a syndicate of weavers, none has proven successful in the face...

read more

22. Cuy for Two

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 130-133

I had again switched lodging—not because of hospitality pompously proffered, but rather because my new hotel didn’t live up to its word. When I checked in I asked the afternoon desk clerk if, like the signs on the door said, the hotel took VISA cards...

read more

23. The 10,000 Hats of Adriano González

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 134-139

Adriano González appeared particularly tired when he and his wife arrived to unlock the front door at his place in Biblián at six o’clock Sunday morning. They had returned from a wedding fiesta just three hours earlier, and now, after the predawn drive from Cuenca, Adriano...

read more

24. The Last Jews in Cuenca

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 140-146

Daniel Kuperman, general manager of the Hotel Crespo, sat stirring his coffee in the first-floor dining room as he talked about the memory of his father and the future of his child. Kuperman’s family history takes off from turn-of-the-century Russia, where his grandfather...

read more

25. Assembly Line

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 147-150

Cuenca’s profoundly religious society began to shift out of low gear in the mid-1960s. Roads to Guayaquil and Quito—unpaved, but roads nonetheless—were not completed until about 1950. A tire factory opened in 1963, followed by ones making ceramics, kitchen...

Part Three

read more

26. Dead Drunk

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 153-158

The hats weren’t quite ready to take off for the United States and I wasn’t either. I suppose I could have waited around Cuenca, then joined them for the ride to Guayaquil and booked a seat on the same flight north—but the truth is I couldn’t bear to leave South America...

read more

27. Cruising with Olga

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 159-165

After the tragedy at Pujilí, I returned to Quito where I visited with Olga Fisch, at whose artesanía shop some of Kurt Dorfzaun’s finest Panama hats were sold. One of the unacknowledged facts in the artesanía trade in much of Latin America is that without the admiration and marketing...

read more

28. Sour Lake Oil

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 166-174

Most of Ecuador’s Indians live in the central highlands between the two parallel mountain chains that make up the Andes. These are the indigenous people at the bottom of the social heap who plant corn, harvest potatoes, work for the better off—and make hats. Virtually all...

read more

29. To Colombia

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 175-180

Ildefonso Muñoz insisted I visit Colombia, his homeland. Muñoz, in his late fifties, came to Ecuador in 1950, either because he was a Protestant under a government that was intolerantly Catholic, or because he was on the losing side of a coup (the truth depends on...

read more

30. Up the Aguarico

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 181-186

The next day I took a wood-frame bus from Lago Agrio to Dureno. Watercolor drawings covered its side, and cases of Coca-Cola destined for settlements deep in the jungle bounced on top. A sign on the back said DON’T BOTHER ME—I’M CRAZY. Some thirty passengers...

read more

31. Madeline in Quito

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 187-190

“To the Europeans,” said the doctor in Gabriel García Márquez’s No One Writes to the Colonel, “South America’s a man with a mustache, a guitar, and a gun.” Such stereotypes are born of observation, superficial and redundant. By the time they get back to the observed, they...

read more

32. Crossing the Line

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 191-194

The hats from Cuenca had already arrived in New York, where they waited for Karl Dorfzaun to forward them on to Resistol in Texas. I was still in South America, having strayed too far from the trail. It was certainly time to return.
Few passenger-freighters dock on Ecuador’s coast...

Part Four

read more

33. Production Line

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 197-203

New York City. “Every time someone moves out of this building,” eighty-four-year-old Karl Dorfzaun complained, “a movie company moves in.” Dorfzaun was rummaging around the piles of hats that cluttered his office on Broadway near Times Square. Most of the building...

read more

34. Lasting Friendship

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 204-208

When Consolidated Freightways dropped off twenty boxes of Resistol hats at the Western Hat Works in San Diego, Marty Anfangar checked the shipment against the invoice and started stacking the new inventory. Anfangar, in his early forties, is a third-generation hatter...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 209-210

For a book that deals with life along the equator, I benefited by sound advice from people as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far south as Santiago, Chile. Suggestions came in the form of books to read, ideas to consider, and friends to meet. Seasoned travelers recommended...

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 211-214

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 215-221