Otavalo Market

Just 2 hours away from Quito by bus, Otavalo market is a busy bustling maze of arts, fruits, vegetables, hats, clothing, jewelry, and the list goes on. Otavalo is one of the most visited destinations in Ecuador, and seeing that I have been here over a month now, it was time to go!


A group of 9 of us decided to go last Saturday. Saturday is the best day, because every other day it is just located within a plaza, but on Saturday it’s literally down all the side streets of the plaza as far as the eye can see. Lots of bargaining and negotiation tactics are useful at a place like this. And most items are relatively cheap!



I think the best part about Otavalo was the hats. Hats for days! They aren’t just normal hats There are hats that look like any animal or character you can think of. I even saw a hat embroidered with Simba. Interesting. I have about 5 pictures of myself in different hats. Here is one of I’m guessing a Bert or Ernie hat.



Another cool thing the food. There were tons and tons of vendors cooking up some sort of Ecuadorian food. Some of which looked very appetizing, while some did not…


We stopped for ice cream… twice. How could we not? It was homemade and amazingly delicious. We  also found a lot of cool and interesting items. We came across the littlest plastic bag we’ve ever seen. Including handles! Thanks to our model Abby!


Otavalo market was a great experience. I wasn’t really prepared to be so overwhelmed with stuff and the huge size of the market, but I loved it. I want to go back… Christmas is coming up you know! It makes for great gifts! I will be retuning closer to my homecoming, to stock up on some more gifts. 🙂



Colonial Ecuador

After battling a fever all night, I was ready to go see some parts of the city and experience the bus system. Lula said that we would go further into the city and then go to el Distrito Colonial, which is the very old colonial part of Quito.

We took a couple of busses down to Ecicenter, which is a really big and nice mall that has all the stores we know and love. (Except my favorites; Target, Marshalls, and Starbucks…Damn!) But they had L’Occitane, Tiffany’s, Abercrombie, McDonals, Dunkin Donuts… you get the gist. We looked at cellphones there, because I needed to buy one, but because they were in the “Americanized” mall, they were much more expensive.

So we hopped on a bus, which by the way only cost $0.25, (Amazing right?), and we rode to another bus station. Got off and on to another bus. So many buses, I know, but they literally go everywhere. The bus station was right next to a stadium where they have bull fighting once a year. It’s a very controversial subject down here. Cinthya said that it is powered by the rich and powerful people, but mostly all the other people are protesting against it. She said a few years ago the government opened up a ballot for people to share their opinions of the bull fights, but it really doesn’t matter what the voters say, because the people who want the bull fights have money. It seems to be a very Latinoamericana-esque issue. Money and power.

This bus took us to the Colonial District. There was a lot of traffic because the city is fixing the streets. They are made of cobblestones, so they wanted to make it a little bit better for the buses but keep the colonial feel. We got off the bus at this plaza. Lula said that it is a big theater plaza. There are two theaters and sometimes there are concerts in the plaza area.

When we were here, I started to feel really sick again, unfortunately. But we kept on. Colonial Ecuador is famous for its churches and its Spanish styled architecture and buildings. Cinthiya said that Quito is called the Light of LatinoAmerica (El Luz de America Latino), or something like that. Because Quito was the first place to gain independence in South America from the Spanish during the colonial era. They call it the light because it lit up the rest of S.A. to do the same. Lula said that everything is cheaper in the Colonial part, so we bought a new cell phone for me. You all would be really jealous… Nokia brick phone. It was $41, but the minutes down here are so cheap!! All of the technology and cars here are more expensive than back home, but the supplemental goods for these items are very inexpensive. Gas is around $1, and I can pay $14/month and get unlimited text and some extra minutes.

Also there are a lot of legends and stories in the Latinoamericana culture. Ever since I started learning Spanish, all my clases had stories or books we read that were mythical legends or religious stories. Most of them dealing with selling one’s soul to the devil for something in return, like a super power or food, etc. Cinthya told me that the church below also has a legend. It says that during the time of the Spanish conquest, the ecuadorians couldn’t finish building this church. So they asked an indigenous man to do the work. He said yes, but his work was mediocre and not acceptable for the people. So he made a deal with the devil, that the devil would help him build a marvelous and beautiful church, but when the man puts in the last stone, his soul will belong to the devil. But the man was smart and he worked all the way up until the last stone, and called it complete. Below are the photos. Also Cinthya and I on the bottom in front of this church.

As you can see in these pictures the sky is really blue in some and grey in the others. The weather here is LOCO! For 5 minutes it will be super caliente. Then it will be windy and freezing… no joke. And they don’t have 4 seasons here, just winter and summer. I guess it’s kind of like San Diego, but with extreme UV rays. We made it back to the house after feeling terrible for most of the day and I fell asleep for a long long time and woke up around 8pm. Lula had made me some amazing chicken soup with zanahorias, cebolla, papas, y ajo. (Carrots, onions, potatoes, and garlic.) Qué rico!


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