Sharing the News @ Otavalo
We arrived on the outskirts of Otavalo, apparently our bus didn’t have the permission to enter Otavalo itself so instead just dumped us on the side of the road.
On the bus we met Pedro, who we had seen at the border crossing sitting with the Venezuelans. Pedro was born in Venezuela and moved to England when he was 10. We got chatting with him during the hour journey to Otavalo. We managed to get on an overpacked local bus and headed into Otavalo town which was surrounded by volcanoes reaching over 4800 metres into the sky.
Amongst the Market Stalls @ Otavalo Market
We walked through the streets to our hostel and were already surrounded by numerous markets stalls lining the streets and one of the most colourful fruit and vegetable markets I’ve seen. We arrived at what we thought was our hostel, only to find there were two hostels within the same company and we were at the other one. Our hostel was five blocks back where we came from. When we finally found our hostel, El Anderiego, it was so beautiful! Everything was decorated in the same traditional colourful material, from the curtains and bed covers to the placemats on the tables. Alice straight away wanted all that material. The whole place was fresh, clean and obviously newly built with a big kitchen and huge bright rooms. It was probably the cleanest hostel we’ve ever seen, and one of the better decorated says Alice.
Selling in the Sun @ Otavalo Market
We met back up with Pedro to go through the fruit and vegetable market, where we grabbed some fresh vegetables to cook back at the hostel. Super cheap and extremely fresh, we were looking forward to a good home cooked meal. That night we decided to hang out in our beautiful hostel and rest up ready for our big day in the market the next day.
From the moment we walked out the door of the hostel the streets were jam packed with buzzing street stalls full of the most beautiful clothing, hammocks, paintings, jewellery and everything you could think of. We decided, as we hadn’t yet bought many souvenirs for ourselves during our trip, to spend up big as Alice KNEW the postage in South America was cheap. The market at its peak can take over a third of the small town of Otavalo.
Colours @ Otavalo Market
We spent the whole day wandering through the stalls with Pedro, which were full of every colour you could ever imagine, bargaining over paintings, hammocks, table runners, the softest scarves and ponchos I’ve ever felt, and numerous other bits and pieces including some pretty amazing jewellery and a bunch of crap we don’t need, like three table runners and the biggest table cloth I have ever encountered. We don’t even own a table. Or a house for the table to go in, why the hell do we now have the most decorated fictitious table in the world??
Behind the Seller @ Otavalo Market
A quick lunch break saw a much needed beer consumed and refuel for the afternoon of craft hunting. We found a painting that we loved and Alice started the bargaining with the woman early. We returned a few times throughout the day to reconsider and continue the bartering. The last time we went back to the stall, we were procrastinating while admiring what would be our new piece of art (to hang on a wall we don’t have) when the lady asked Alice;
“Is this your daughter?” – gesturing to me.
“Is this your daughter?”
– my daughter?!
“Yes your daughter”
“Or are you sisters”
– my daughter?! I’m 30 and she is 27!!!
“She has such good skin”
– 😣 I will be having that painting for the price I suggest now thank you.
She came down to Alice’s price even if Alice died a little inside.
Bags of Colour @ Otavalo Market
Bored @ Otavalo Market
The day finished after approximately one hundred ponchos had been tried on, thirty hammocks swung in, a thousand scarves fondaled and approximately 5kgs more luggage than we had before.
We packed up all our goodies, and nearly booked our flights home due to the amount we had spent, but we were satisfied with the amount of brightly coloured things we now have to send home and remind us of our time in Latin America.
The next day, much heavier and wider than we had been when we arrived, we threw our belongings onto a bus and headed for Quito, where we could post all our presents and souvenirs home.
Exhausted @ Otavalo Market