I realise the whole concept of using guinea pigs as a form of gambling seems absurd. What can a guinea pig offer the gambling addict when compared to horse racing, cock fighting or just plain old roulette? Well, I’m here to let you know that guinea pig gambling is as nerve-rackingly, heart-pumpingly exciting as much better known ways of being separated from your money.
The Andes is the birth place of the guinea pig, so it seems fitting that an Andean country should have invented a ‘sport’ involving a hand trained guinea pig, upturned plastic bowls and a PA system. Its probably a better life for the guinea pig than the fate that awaits them further south in Peru, where they end up roasted and served with a side of potatoes and veg.
Strolling down a busy street close to Bogota’s Candelaria district, a small crowd of people, curiously gathered around a semi-circle of upturned plastic bowls, caught my eye. A man was spinning some yarn to them and as I got closer I realised that the man with the microphone was in possession of several guinea pigs. My eye was no longer caught, I was hooked.
So these are the basic rules of guinea pig gambling: arrange a semi-circle of plastic bowls with a hole cut out of the front of them; take to the microphone and attract a crowd; encourage people to place money on top of the plastic bowls; build the excitement to fever pitch while choosing a guinea pig; and, finally, when the crowd is in a frenzy, release the guinea pig.
The furry little critter will dash towards the plastic bowls at full speed and, amid much excitement and hilarity, will go into one of them. The person who placed money on top of that particular plastic bowl wins and receives a cash prize.
Retrieve your guinea pig from the plastic bowl and start again.
I take my hat off to the person who invented this new sport, and I’m sure it is all harmless fun, but what happens to the guinea pigs once their gambling days are over? I doubt they are put out to stud like race horses…probably shipped to Peru.