24th Oct 2008
Travelled by local bus about 90 minutes to Otavalo - famous for its Saturday market and indigenious traders. the market evidently dates back to pre inca times when goods were transported from the lowlands and highlands for bartering. Nowdays it has the tourist function as everybody who visits Ecuador is likely to come at some stage but also the local function - for food, meat and catching up etc. almost anything can be found. we arrived friday lunchtime and the market is open each day. Carlos took us for a quick tour around Otavalo and then we caught a local bus - 25c - to Cotacachi which is famous for its leather goods. Had an hour to look around before meeting for lunch - too much time for me. found a lovely pair of avocado green sandles for me but not in my size - they had every other colour available except the one I wanted. After lunch we had decided to pay for taxis to take us to Laguna de Cuicocha - 4 in each which would alway leave 2 people in their own taxi. anyway at lunch Victor and Amber ordered food that took a long time to come and the rest of us were well finished by the time their food has arrived. i think it is only polite to wait until people are finished before you leave but the majority of the others got up and paid and went outside. I was left with them still eating - Bruce gestured me outside and said we were leaving - i asked Carlos and he said we would wait so i went back in to be furiously gestured outside again to say that we were leaving. Carlos said he would go and tell them we would wait where the taxis were. anyway we got to the taxis and everybody hopped in and we left with me protesting slightly about it all. the only thing is that Victor can speak Spanish so can get his way around a lot better than the rest of us and knoew where we were going and how to do it. Anyway i was happy as was jammed in the backseat between Kristin and Carlos for the 20 min ride. Reached the lake which was very pretty - there is a 2 hr hike around it which we didn´t have time for. I walked up the hill a bit to get good photos. I think Carlos was a bit surprised when i came out from the trail and said I had some good photos - i didn´t tell him I only went half way up and there was a good vantage point there. Back to Otavalo in the taxi and there we went our separate ways for a while. Kristin and decided to look at the market today rather than the next whern it would be a lot busier. Instantly saw a shawl i wanted but decided to wait until later - of course I never got it and then thought of all those ones I brought in India and haven´t used. Saw a few prints and paintings I liked and decided that i would buy one. Kristin brought a large colourful table cloth and took forever to decided on which one - it really was quite funny until it got boring. Back to the hotel by 1800 and then all went out to dinner together at a seafood restaurant - nothing on the menu I wanted so ended up with soup. After dinner went to a bar with Kristin, Carlos and Bruce for a while and then to bed.
Really enjoyed seeing the indigenious people in their everyday colourful clothing - very hard to get a photo as they do not like people taking photos which is fair enough - you therefore have to do it discreetly which means a lot of missed shots.
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