Market Day in Otavalo

Trip Start Jan 23, 2008
1
6
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Trip End May 23, 2008


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Saturday, February 9, 2008

For our third week of Spanish classes, we left the hustle and buslte of Quito for Otavalo.

This town is a little bigger than Baņos, but still very manageable on foot. We arrived intentionally for the famous Saturday market, which actually dates back to pre-Columbian times when various indegenous groups would gather here to trade.

Nowadays, there are three main markets; an animal market early Saturday mornings outside of town, a food market that more or less happens every day, and a vast tourist-oriented textile market in the center of town.

Most of the local handcrafts are textiles that are either hand woven, knit, or crocheted in sheep, llama, or alpaca wool. The most common products festooning the maze of stalls were sweaters, hats, ponchos, hamocks, rugs, wall hangings, scarves, bags.

I was in heaven here as Ive always loved textiles. From a practial point of view, textiles are not only useful things, they pack well. From an aesthetic point of view, I love the myriad textures, pattern, and colors that can be wrought. And now that I have started knitting myself, I can truly appreciate how much talent, creativity, and time goes into these wonderful works.

Beyond the main market, tendils stretch away from the main plaza in every direction, with stalls selling everything from the gorgeous traditional Otavalņo outfits, to pots and pans, to pirate CDs and DVDs, to brand name jeans and t-shirts (pirate status uncorfirmed but likely).





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