Market Day in Otavalo

After the waterfall and averted dog mauling the bus headed towards a market where we were told was THE place to do our shopping. The Mercado near our hotel in Quito was pretty cool and we had held off buying there waiting for this Mercado to help the Ecuadorian economy with some dollars.

Textiles were touted as this market’s claim to fame which translated into scarfs, blankets, table runners and clothing. There were a few of the ubiquitous knick-knacks that we had seen in Quito, but it was time to get some gifts for the kids.

And it was pretty much the same stuff, the same prices and the same overly zealous vendors so we took a loop to get some ideas and walked the 5 blocks up to the central plaza. On the way up the street there were shops more of the same old stuff. At the plaza the local Army band was playing pop music and were quite good, people were dancing and it was a thing to do after church. Nice. Good people having a pleasant afternoon.

It was starting to drizzle and we lamented on how good coffee would be. As we reached the plaza and made a right turn there was a coffee stand with stools available at the counter. A quick glance of the menu showed that they sold pretty much everything from coffee to sandwiches to cake, and we needed no more encouragement.

The drizzle turned into a light rain and the plaza started to thin out. Joe from our tour group showed up and later Robert and Shelia. The conversation went from travel to a hashish drug binge in Morocco when one of the group was young. More on that later, it’s worth the wait.

The coffee, cake and rain soon started to disappear so we headed back to the market to buy our gifts. Street markets of the world all seem to be built on the same business plan with 80% of the stalls selling the same stuff. How they make money is confusing unless they are all owned by the same families and I suspect that to be true because vendors routinely get the pattern or color you want from a fellow vendor. I swear the word also spreads as the vendors seem to know what you are shopping for and pull it out before you reach their stall.

We helped the local economy, had some good conversation with our fellow travelers and had cake, nothing wrong with that.

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