|After one of the most horrible nights of sleep for the both of us, we got up early and caught a bus to Otavalo on the June 25th. The bus ride was a little slice of culture in its own right. There were only four people aboard when we started. Soon afterwards, the bus acquired people standing on th roadside who were headed in our direction. The bus soon became so crowded that people sat in the aisles or stood up. An ancient Mexican comedy played on the television screen and cumbia music played in the background as we climbed and descended mountains, often with a great view of the volcano Cotacachi.
Otavalo is a neat little town set in the shadow of the volcano. The market we came to see was in full swing by then. Ecuadorians of all kinds plied their wares which included everything from chickens, various animals, produce, woolen goods, snails, jewelry, crafts, and much more. Many indigenous people come to sell their products here. The indigenous women wear traditional clothes, that includes a long, straight black or dark blue skirt, a fancy white shirt with hand embroidered colorful flowers, and some kind of dark blue or black scarf folded over their head. We wanted to take close up pictures of them, but when we asked, they wanted to charge us for the pictures. So Mika snapped a few shots from afar. Otavalo has one of the largest markets in Ecuador. We felt extremely safe here. The people are not pushy in trying to sell their goods. We tried some food from a street vendor, which we think consisted of dog meat, cheese, and potatoes but the people insisted that it was beef.¨"Cuy" or guinea pig, is a traditional dish in Ecuador. Maybe it was that. It was pretty darn good, though. We also ate later in the "secret" locals-only market alongside the human denizens and a few poor pigs who had been roasted whole for the occasion. We noticed there were no other gringos in this area. Perhaps the tour guides tell the others not to eat here, but we figured as long as the food was cooked, there would be no harm. When in Rome. . .
More journal entries, and hopefully, pictures to come. Next journal...hear about our experience in Spanish school in Cuenca!