The biggest indigenous market in Latin America..?
26.04.2008 - 26.04.2008 23 °C
I spent the whole of Friday attempting to learn Spanish.
Or rather, I should say, I spent the whole day bumbling my way through the present tense, days of the week, and, the coup de grace, the contents of my pencil case. All of this in a manner strangely reminiscent of lower school French (aside from the regrettable absence of Frau Di Francia). After the strain of these exertions, I decided to head out of Quito on Saturday, accompanied by Nicolas, a Swiss Colombian, and Mielte, a German (don´t ask..).
After a hair-raising bus journey, the highlights of which were the driver´s singular refusal to actually watch the road and a sequence of literally breath-taking overtaking maneouvers, we ended up in Otavalo, reputedly home to the biggest indigenous market in South America.
True to form, the market was indeed chuffing massive and choc-a-bloc with stallholders selling everything from livestock to alpaca woollens. As Nicolas and I were walking around with a 6ft plus gringo (bear in mind, the average height among the Quichua-speaking natives is about 5ft..), we were subjected to the full range of the vendors´banter. This stretched from the conventional ´Hola Amigo´, to the somewhat more forceful ´¿Eh tu hijo de puta, que tal?´ (which roughly translates as 'what's up you son of a bitch?') and was quite an experience!
Thankfully, the journey back was a little less perilous and our bus even had a DVD player in it (yet the 3 hour journey still cost less than $2.. suck on that National Express)!