Friday, August 27, 2010

Otavalo: The Market

Even though I have skipped past Banos (white water rafting, and horse back riding), and Cuenca - an amazing colonial city, I will never catch up, so I might as well just move on.

We have stayed at the most amazing Hacienda (farm) every. It is about a billion years old, and the rooms are amazing, and have hot water and the piece de resistance - a fire place! Like an actual, you put wood in and light er up, fireplace. I was in heaven. We spent 2 nights there. On the second day we took advantage of a mountain biking adventure. We have never mountain biked before, so it seems like a great idea. We drove up to the highest point humans can go on Cayambe Mountain (4,800 meters). We were on the equator line and were freezing, and surrounded by blowing snow. And then we biked down 2,000 meters. Before starting we had joked about having a camera on our helmet that snapped a photo whenever we pulled on the brakes... Truth be told, it would have been more like a movie, since I pulled on the brakes the entire time. All the way down. 2,000 meters over 36 km is very steep. They fed us sandwhiches, sandwhiches that tasted like the gift of life. Then we hurtled the rest of the way down. It was on a road that was "paved" with coarse cobbled stone. Pretend you are operating a jack hammer. Now imagine doing that on a bike, because that is what it felt like. Today I can hardly move!

Luckily today was a travel day. We moved from the Hacienda to Otavalo.

Really all we have time to do in Otavalo (we are here less than 24 hours) is the market, which is purportedly the best in South America... So in the 4 hours that we have been here we have purchased
  • Panama Hat (produced in Ecuador, EXPORTED to Panama)
  • Alpaca Blanket
  • Alpaca Socks
  • Wooden ring for my thumb
  • Rug for the kitchen
What did we need of all of this? Likely only the socks. I have just stopped myself from buying another sweater (I am up to 4 already) and a second rug, and a small model alpaca, and a little rug made of Alpaca (which, I swear to god, the cats will love). I am now wondering which of my current backpack contents will need to be left behind in order to fit in all these new family members.

Also in the market a very shrunken old lady approached us, talked to us in Spanish, and then as far as I can tell put a curse on Jen.

Other random facts. I am in an internet cafe. How do they afford to run in Ecuador? Technology is expensive, and the internet is cheap to access. In addition, I have seen my first bar of soap on a stick since Korea. Don´t think it´s about to break through to Canada anytime soon.

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