Every Saturday is “market day” in Otavalo which is about 9 miles north of Cotacachi. The people here really are entrepreneurs as you’ll see from the photos…we nicknamed one aisle the “food court”, where you can buy anything from raw meat, vegetables, fruits, ice cream, fresh coconut, spices, corn, popcorn, and dried beans or you can stop and eat where a vendor will cook the food for you.
Vendors are pretty aggressive if they think they have your attention, and will continue to bargain until you walk away. Everywhere you look is gorgeous silver jewelry, alpaca scarves and blankets, panama hats, leather hats, tablecloths, native blouses, handmade musical instruments, wooden toys, colorful bead jewelry, and awesome wood carvings and native artwork. It would really be fun to decorate some houses here!
The park is in the center of town, and some of the buildings have murals painted on them by local artists. When you see kids playing and teenagers holding hands, you realize that things are not so different in some ways from back home! There are the natives who dress in loose cotton pants or skirts, lots of gold beads, blue jackets, hats and the women cover their heads, and then you’ll see others dressed in American labels. Some of the younger women wear the latest styles you’d see back home- especially the shoes with 4-5 inch heels. Some of the younger generation are also dying their hair blond or red!
I took a pic of an older woman who brings her eggs into town to sell…she’s barefoot and I caught her wrapping up her “flat cartons” in a shawl to carry back. I am fascinated by the tenacity and endurance of the locals…barefoot on cobblestone roads, and they walk everywhere…miles and miles just to take care of daily business. It’s hard to tell the age of a person because life is so hard for most of them. They have my total respect. The children are beautiful and their smiles will light up your day.
It’s such a small world…we ran into Bentley and a new couple from North Carolina- Dave & Miriam who have been here for 3 months and are already planning to stay! We all had lunch at a Chinese cafe where Kelly & I had shrimp with vegetables and rice. Actually, the food was very good.
In the villages, the native people buy everything from their weekly food supply to underwear and shoes…check out my pics of “Victoria’s Secret” and “Abercrombie & Fitch”!