Trip Start Dec 28, 2005
18Trip End Oct 28, 2006
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Our last stop on our South America tour was Otavalo, a sleepy town a couple of hours north of Quito, which comes alive on the weekends to host one of South America's most famous markets.
The market dates back to pre Inca times but today's modern market serves 2 distinct groups:
1. the locals who buy and barter animals and fruit'n'veg
2. Tourists looking for handmade crafts
On Sat morning we got up at dawn and set off to the animal market on the edge of town, where beneath the volcanic backdrop of Cotacachi, indeginous men and women milled about with pigs, cows, goats and chickens in the crisp morning air
The crowds of people approximately outnumbered the animals 5 to one, as a whole family would come down to the market to sell their one pig.
After careful inspections, haggling and discussion, money would be exchanged and the satisfied buyer would head off with his/her purchase. We saw one guy stuff his newly bought pig in a sack and chuck it in the luggage compartment of the bus for the journey home. The SPCA would have a field day here...
The food and crafts market was in full swing by the time we got back into the centre of town. We went crazy and bought heaps of hammocks, paintings, bags, jewellery etc for the journey home. Not quite shopping in Buenos Aires, but it'll have to do!
Anyways here's a few "lists" to end our travels.....
Sights from a bus window:
+ Dead man #1 with brains splattered over highway, Argentina
+ Dog put in luggage compartment withour a cage, Bolivia
+ Dog wearing nappies, Ecuador
+ Brand new washing machine squeezed into luggage compartment, Ecuador
+ Dead man #2 covered in a blanket, Ecuador
+ Man taking a dump next to bus (lit up by oncoming headlights), Bolivia
+ Pig stuffed into sack and thrown into luggage compartment, Ecuador
+ Women squatting to pee beside bus withou even lifting skirts, everywhere in Bolivia
+ Passengers appearing and disappearing from/to desert wastelands, everywhere in South America
Random Punters who amused us:
- Ricardo, Texas...crazy old man who talks non stop about vampires, peanut butter, cereals and fruit, the punishment of impalement, crevices, John Wayne for President etc
- Andre, Tasmania...world's most boring man who sent JC insane
- Bartenders, Huacachina...got so wasted to forgot to charge us anything
- Asaf, Israel..."it was a good shit", crazy frontline soldier doesn't undertand subtle
- Tyler, USA..."milk was a bad choice", Peru's own Anchorman
- Abuelo, Peru..."sometimes....i just get really wasted man", Huanchaco's godfather of surfing
"Best not tell Mum till afterwards" events:
+ swimming in alligator and piranha infested waters, Bolivia
+ Downhill Mountain biking World's Most Dangerous Road, Bolivia
+ Electric shocks aplenty in the electrically heated showers with wires hanging out over the shower, Everywhere in South America
+ Climbing an active snow covered volcano with no safety talks, Chile
+ Hunting for anacondas, Bolivia
+ All taxi rides, Everywhere in South America
+ snorkelling with sharks, Galapagos Islands
+ Bus to Rurrenebaque (scariest thing ever!), Bolivia
Top locations to visit if you are ever in the neighbourhood:
- Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
- Machu Pichu Trek, Peru
- Iguazu Falls, Argentina
- Rurrenebaque (The Pampas tour), Bolivia
- Huacachina (Sandboarding), Peru
- Puerto Merino Glacier, Argentina
- The Salt Flats, Bolivia
- Mendoza (wine tours), Argentina
- The Death Road (mountain biking), Bolivia
- Isla Del Sol, Bolivia
- Huanchaco (surfing), Peru
- El Chalten (ice hiking), Argentina
- Pucon (volcano climbing), Chile
Thanks to everyone we met on our journeys!
Thanks to Nick and Jen for all your info!
JC and Sally
Its been emotional...