I made my first trip to Otavalo today. Oh my goodness! I paid an extra 25 cents to hop on the bus here and take it to the terminal and then get on the Otavalo bus. I could have caught it right across the street from my apartment but it was very sunny and felt very warm this morning, there was no shade, and I had no idea how often the buses come along there. I figured it was worth the extra 25 cents. I was right. It was just a lot easier and I got a better seat than I would have if I'd gotten on here.
I loved the market. I found many things I've been hoping to get, including one of the cute little salt cellars (no clue if that's the correct spelling for those cute bowls) just like the ones they have at the restaurant I go to about once a week. There was a matching dish of some sort that probably has a specific use but I got it just because it was cute. I ended up putting my baggie clips in it. I just love them. They were pricier than I had expected and I even managed to get her to reduce her price a little. I have no idea what something like that would cost in the States but I've gotten very spoiled with the prices here.
The little things I got are the littlest things on the counter. They're ceramic on the inside and are covered with hand woven baskets. I also would love to get something like that for the utensils but I'm thinking I might be able to crochet something stiff enough to use for that. Or, if I could could crochet a cover for the container I'm currently using.
I also discovered yarn! Oh my, oh my. They do the same thing I did back in the States. The have sweaters they take apart and roll into balls and sell. I have no idea where the sweaters come from but there's a little place in the back of my head that says, "Missionaries." I could be totally wrong but some of the sweaters I saw didn't look the least bit Ecuadorian. Of course there could easily be a distribution center for used clothing. I used to get a lot of my specialty yarn in thrift stores. Grandma would spend hours making a scarf for little Johnny or Jenny and as soon as Grandma went home, the scarf went into the closet and was donated to a thrift store in the spring. (I use my imagination a lot.) Anyway, I got some great yarn for some very good prices. If I'd been thinking a little more about what I need yarn for, I would have gotten another ball or two. I can still do that the next time I go.
I stopped at a little restaurant and got the Deseyana Especial (you can pretty well assume the first word is wrong--it means "Today's") for lunch. I had a piece of chicken in a lovely sauce of some kind, a mound of rice, a little shredded lettuce and a tomato slice. I also could have chosen beef, though I have no idea how that would have been prepared. I had a 12 oz. glass of fresh juice (I chose papaya), a dinner roll with a smallish piece of soft cheese with it, and cafe con leche (coffee in hot milk). They bring the hot milk in a cup and put the powdered coffee on the table. I wasn't very impressed when it was served but I have to tell you, it's the best instant coffee I've ever had! In fact, the combination was better than most latte's I've had. I have to learn to stop turning my nose up at things I think I know about. Total for the meal? $2.50.
I had walked from the bus to the market (maybe 5 or 6 blocks) but I was pretty exhausted when I came home so I splurged and took a taxi. I'm SO glad I did. I had no idea I had walked so far from the beginning of the market to where I ended up. And for $1, I was willing to splurge just a little.
The bus terminal in Otavalo is pretty big. In fact, they have about 15 stalls for the various buses going to different cities and towns. There were huge lines for each bus--far more people in the line than could fit on the bus--so I waited along with about 50 or more people (the line continued to grow until it was at least 75) for the next bus. There were two bus lanes for Cotacachi and the line for the other bus was even longer. Here's where I discovered Ecuadorians aren't always the kindest and most polite people in the world. I was within 5 people of the front of the line and as soon as the bus door opened, in fact a little before, people stampeded into the a seething mass of humanity (and a small dog someone either squished or stepped on) pushing and shoving to get on. I was probably around the 20th one to get on the bus and then only because I had decided that when in Rome, do as the Romans, and the people behind me were assisting me in my journey toward the door of the bus.
Here's where my not-yet-quite-healed broken wrist was most unhappy. There is a relatively high first step getting on the bus and the only handle to grab to pull oneself up is on the same side as my bum wrist. Next time I'm wearing my cast, both for the sympathy factor and because my arm took quite a beating trying to get to the door and on the bus. Everyone was still smiling and no one yelled or complained but it was a challenge. Oh, and there were all these women with their babies tied to their backs and the babies were getting a squished as everyone. It was most interesting and something I'll be a bit more prepared for the next time I go.
Tomorrow I'm off to the local weekly market and I'll take my camera with me there. I'll take it to the Otavalo market one of these days as well but I'm glad I didn't take it today. I needed to get the lay of the land first.