What is your most positive experience with a kiosk? What even is a kiosk, exactly?
My best, most enlightening kiosk moment happened recently, one evening when the sun went down in the Galápagos Islands. It was there, in Puerto Ayora, the most populous town on Santa Cruz Island, that a row of low-key, nondescript, humble storefronts became a bustling, street-food smorgasbord.
A City Street Transforms
No kidding! This road, known locally as La Calle de los Kioscos (Kiosk Street), populated during daytime by vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians (bottom left photo), at dusk becomes restaurant seating for approximately fifteen eateries (bottom right photo). Wafting over the tables from the kitchens and grills lining the street is a mouth-watering smell. The local chefs prepare fresh fish, chicken, octopus, shrimp, and vegetables to accompany the traditional food of the islands — rice, beans, and plantains. The more adventurous eaters in our group ordered the fried octopus, but I went for the chicken encocado with a rich coconut sauce that is a classic of the Ecuadorian coast.
A Typical Tab
The cost of our meals on the street was between $10 and $15, quite reasonable given the amount and freshness of the ingredients. Our group, comprised mostly of Americans, enjoyed beers, sodas, and sweet fruit juices with our dinners. We felt lucky to have found a street with delicious food and a pleasing, laid-back atmosphere.
Park Yourself in Santa Cruz
Take all of this in with the context of the island. Santa Cruz is 381 square miles, with over 90 percent of the land reserved as a national park. It hosts the largest population in the archipelago with approximately 12,000 inhabitants, most of whom live in Puerto Ayora. The tourism industry is thriving in Puerto Ayora, and one of the highest sought-after jobs is as a tour provider or naturalist tour guide. For me, any job would be fine as long as Kiosk Street is waiting for me!