Otavalo, Ecuador

Trip Start Jul 30, 2007
1
8
Trip End Sep 17, 2007


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Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, August 3, 2007

Greetings and buenos dias everyone! I´m only miles from the equator and yet there´s a slight chill in the air. I must be in Ecuador. Four days into the journey and all goes very well. It´s Friday evening in Otavalo, and anticipation is in the air for tomorrow´s Saturday market. Folks from the outskirts of  town and neighboring villages bring in their wares for all to see, and hopefully buy. I´m more interested in the animal market. I´m thinking of getting a pig. Just have to figure out how to get him into the backpack.
The local men wear their traditional felt hats, blue jackets and white pants while the women have their shiny black hair pulled back in a ponytail, wrap a gold necklace around their neck and drape a shaw around their shoulders. Some wear the frilly laced white blouses.
A statue in the square is dedicated to the local indigenous hero of the region, a fact two women were proud to point out. The town is surrounded by pristine green valleys and Andean-size 4700 meter plus volcanoes. Today, I easily made arrangements through local bus and taxi to get to the volcanic formed crater lake, Lago de Cuicocha. Overcast, yet still spectacular scenery, I circumnavigated the lake enjoying the surprisingly varied stages of countryside; some parts lush, some parts semiarid with cactus and desert flowers. Eucalyptus and tall needle pine flourish here as well.
There must be some spiritual comfort here in Otavalo being surrounded by three ancient volcanoes, at least, while they are currently in a state of slumber. 

My first 2 and a half days were spent in Quito, getting oriented to my new environment which never takes me very long. I am a veteran traveler after all. As cities go, Quito is a very attractive city, situated in an elongated base between the mountains. An aerial tram takes you to the largest peak in the area, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding volcanic peaks, several still snow-capped. Below to the west the misty cloud forest sits quietly enshrouded in clouds.
I easily traversed the new and old town sections by foot. Old town has the numerous colonial era churches, one enormous bastillica, pastel colored buildings and amiable, well-used and enjoyed city parks. Try the fruit juices sold at the vendor carts in the park. An instant pick me up after a long city hike. Quito, especially in the Mariscal new town makes a great first stop for arranging future travel plans including the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands. Once accomplished, I was ready for the greater Ecuador outdoors.

Ecuadorians have been very friendly and accomodating. Have already met some interesting travelers, several recently back from volunteer work deep into the Ecuadorian rainforest. I will be going into the Amazon myself beginning next week. Many other young people are here in Ecuador doing volunteer teaching work or environmental work.

Well, today is the big Saturday market and what a sight for the senses. The animal market is my favorite and yes, I could have purchased a little squealing piggy certainly to the relieve of a patient owner. Several of the little piggies, and a few porkers, did find new owners as several were begrudgingly in tow on a leash, one even put in a large burlap bag and carted into a buses luggage compartment!  Later, I saw a happy family who had just sold one of their family cows, all eyes beaming at today´s success.
In town, streets overflowed with colorful food and goods. Everybody, tourists and locals alike, seemed to be enjoying the day.

Ciao for now!

Mike

To view more of my travel photos click     www.michaelmcguerty.com
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Comments

yantraimages
yantraimages on

Sounds like fun!
Hi Mike, Sounds like you are having a good time. I just saw Ann and she is leaving Thursday the 9th of August to go back to Quito. I don't know if you will be there at the same time as her, but I thought I would let you know. Did you take a camera? :) Nial

kerypie
kerypie on

FUNFATIONAL!
I am jealous! No, seriously, again, I feel as though I am there Michael. Sounds as though you are in good spirits and feeling mighty adventurous! ENJOY AND BE SAFE AGENT HIHO!! Love and Blessings, (tell me about their religion when you have time)! (geez, just what you need, requests...:) )

kerypie
kerypie on

P.S
at least I am not asking for a souvenier, like a pig:)

surtrek on

Ecuador is such a nice place for travel.

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