Sunday, July 19, 2009

Indigenous: Part Two

After our visit of the Cochasqui pyramid site we headed North toward Otavalo, set in a valley surrounded by three volcanoes Imbabura, Cotacachi and Mojanda. On Saturday is the infamous outdoor market with the indigenous OtavaleƱos, famed for their textiles.

From seventy surrounding villages nearby native people come to this market and sell their beautiful handmade wears. Besides the large central square titled "Plaza de Ponchos" artisans have set up their booths on all the side streets radiating out from the square. It was one of these little side streets that Maria dropped Eduardo, Greg and myself off, to our regret in the midst of a downpour. We ignored the rain as best we could and began walking the labyrinth.

Exquisite tapestries, woolens, table clothes and clothing in brightly colored hues vied for your attention. Eventually we hooked up with our other clan, Eve, Ivan and his savvy sister.

Thank goodness that most of the items were not in my color palette, or else I would have spent a fortune! I made out with a gorgeous, alpaca poncho and a detailed embroidered teal purse for myself. Most of the time I was assisting Eve and Greg with finding items in their colors and patterns. Eve was the most fortunate since items in her brightly hued palette were there in abundance.

At one point Greg brought me over the the "food" area where vendors sold an array of items including spices, herbs, ice cream and a host of local food. Eve was a little freaked from one booth with a hanging pigs head, so we moved on.

We ate a late lunch/early dinner at a little cafe called Buena Vista, meaning Good View, indeed the view of the market below was terrific. While Greg and Eduardo made inquiries over some supposed "pre-Columbian" artifacts, Eve and I ordered a vegetable lasagna, salad and fresh lemonade. By the way, the lemonade in Ecuador is spectacular.

Something about the town and the market reminded me of San Telmo in Buenos Aires. Perhaps because San Telmo has a large antique market in an old central square lined with cafes? That must be it, because the color, architecture and items for sale have nothing in common with the antique marketplace in San Telmo.

We all piled back into the cars and headed toward Quito, where another adventure awaited us in the morrow.


Becca Moss Kratky said...

I just stumbled across your blog again (it's been a while) as I'm interested in studying aromatherapy and natural perfumery. This post just brought me back to a month I spent in Ecuador 15 years ago while in college as I also spent a day in Otavolo! Great memories...thanks!

Illuminated Perfume said...

Hi Becca, wow, what a fantastic opportunity to spend 30 days in Ecuador while in college. Did you visit the Amazon and the Galapagos? I'll post abut our visit to the Amazon jungle soon.

Becca Moss Kratky said...

I was mainly in Quito taking classes and unfortunately wasn't able to make it over to the Galapagos...maybe someday!
Take care,