Vibrant Otavalo

So after Galapagos we were super lucky to be offered a pad to crash at by a lovely couple we met on our boat, Daniella and Aaron who live in Quito. The night we got there we went to see a movie with them, it was in English with Spanish subtitles, great news – however we didn’t bank on the fact some of the film was spoken in Austrian and Italian resulting in Grace and I  struggling to decipher the Spanish subtitles. The film was great though (Rush). They also took us for a Shawarma for dinner – the area is known for them due to the high Middle Eastern population in that part of town. It was similar to a chicken kebab with chilli and garlic sauce – so nice we went back the next day for another.

The morning after we travelled to Otavalo, around 2 hours North of Quito, although it took us more like 3 due to a super complicated public transport system (or at least it seemed so to us…) Otavalo is known for its Saturday market run by the most successful indigenous group in Ecuador, Otavalenos. Along with their handicrafts the community is also known for their determination to stay culturally uncompromised, and so most still wear the traditional dress. The main square was an assault on the senses; you can smell whole fish frying and incense burning; see an array of fruit, veg and spices as well as brightly coloured blankets and hear locals gossiping, people begging and hawkers selling.Otavalenos are some of the smallest people we have ever seen (some even made Grace feel like a giant, literally no bigger than 4ft) which made the huge baskets they carry on their back even more impressive.

It was a great day, however grace was rather upset by the lack of money she was allowed to spend, although 2 purchases were made – neither were for herself…Hamazing!!!

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