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Another month, another country - Otavalo, Ecuador

Written on: Saturday August 2nd, 2008

A journal entry from: Trails in 2008

A smooth border crossing into Ecuador, we stay on the bus for 3 hours to spend the weekend at the famous indigenous saturday markets, where locals trade animals with each other from 6am, and handicrafts with the tourists for the rest of the day.  

It was great to see traditionally-dressed locals walking their pigs/sheep/cows on leads down to the square, it was a real hustle and bustle from 6am.  The market was semi-organised into sections, depending on what you were selling, ranging from cardboard boxes full of little chicks to trucks carrying cattle.  Only now do I understand the phrase 'squealing like a pig' - they really put up a fuss, but these hefty indigenous women know how to handle them. 

We found a roadside tent with big bench seats to get some coffee and scoff fried donuts and talked to friendly locals who were happy to share their knowledge on the price of livestock (a guinea pig here is $5, a pig around $200).  Then found a good spot up the hill to watch all the goings on, and with Al's big camera lens we were able to get some good stealth shots, unlike some tourists who were shoving their cameras right into the locals faces - cringeworthy to watch but I´m not sure what´s worse, knowing you´re being photographed or being caught paparazzi-style. 

The women all wear the same kind of clothing, and it's not just for our benefit, they are a very traditional and tight knit group and apparently the most sucessful indigenous group in South America, they seem to have managed a good balance between culture and commerce.  We stayed at a fabulous hostel up in the hills, with the 3 absolutely huge dogs, and did two really good walks up in the scenic volcanic crater which really reminded us of NZ.