The last two days have been a blur due to our lack of sleep and exhausted from moving from one city to another…The biggest street market in South America is in Otavalo, 3 hours from where we were staying by bus. They sell everything from food, animals, and crafts. We had opted to take a taxi cutting the time there an hour early. Our taxi driver had told us originally that it was $5 dollars one way; however, when we had arrived, he said it was $50 dollars. After arguing in my broken Spanish, he settled for $18 dollars and a cough drop. Lesson learned – will have the driver write down the amount in the beginning so then I can show the police afterwards. Shady driver!
The ride to Otavalo was beautiful. Outside my window, you can see mountaintops filled with green farm homes and the Imbabura Volcano as a backdrop. The indigenous people in Otavalo are known to be the most economically successful people in Latin America.
It was very modern-like. The prices were outrageous! Flats for $10, ponchos for $20, and crafts for $8. I can see why they make a lot of money…
However, to my amazement, tourists were buying these items at full price. My bargaining skills was not going to work around a bus full of kids who only speaks English. The Ecuadorians were not lowering their prices nor would they budge a dollar! Can you spot Beverly below?
So, Bev and I started to speak in Vietnamese and walked around aimlessly to other sides of the market and started to bargain in my broken Spanish. Haha it worked!! Woot!
It was cool to see myself embracing in the culture: speaking in their language, tasting fruit, and learning how to put on their clothes.
It reminded me of any other “flea market”; however, it was nice to talk to the locals, buy their items, and soak in the city. We ended up taking the bus back for $3.25 and it took about 3 hours getting back.
Here are some pictures from my first hostel. It’s weird, but everyone there is like your family. Every one watches out for each other and I am already missing the atmosphere there
That night, Bev and I checked out early from our hostel to save $9 each to take an overnight bus to Guayaquil where we will fly tomorrow to Peru. I’ve read and heard about horror stories from gangs stopping your bus to raid it and blockage on the roads from protestors. The bus ride was super curvy but to my surprise the bus that we took for $10 bucks had reclining chairs where you are close to laying flat and it was super clean. I don’t have a picture of it but it was crazy with the guards patting you down before you get on the bus and they recorded each person on their camcorder. Probably for safety reasons.. The bus ride was 7 hours and all went well!
Nothing planned today but to chill at our last night in Ecuador at our new relaxing Hostel Nucapacha in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Tomorrow we fly to Peru, I finally got my ceviche, and now chilling by the pool on a hammock. Life is good.