Favorite thing: We took the bus to Otavalo the day before market day, so the bus was very quiet and so was the market, which gave us time to buy the stuff we wanted (at lower prices than on market day). The actual market day the whole town gets tranformed into a market and as we stayed the night we were at the market before most of the other tourists arrived. This gives you the opportunity to check out how the locals spend their morning at the market getting their breakfast. We left for Quito with the bus at around 11:30 so again the bus was rather empty and comfortable.
We stumbled upon this cockfight on our way out of Otavalo. We had passed "the venue" earlier, but some guy was charging a cover charge, so we ignored it. On our way back, however, there was no one at the door, and we saw all these guys going in there, and decided to follow. Much to our surprise, it was a cockfight! Filled with locals, mostly men, a few women with front row seats, we made our way to the bleachers and hoped to blend in with the crowd (yeah right!).
I only have good things to say about Ecuadorians -- this is one of the few countries I've traveled in which the people truly made our experiences excel. I was trying to take pictures quietly on my seat, and the people started to tell me to move up so i could get a better shot. Some people on the front rows even moved out of the way for my pics, and as you can see, one of the cock owners posed elegantly for me.
As in any good fight, first the fighters are displayed, drinks are flowing, people are yelling, bets are placed, money is collected, the pot is written on a chalkboard, and the fight begins by each cock owner working up their fighters against each other. Separated corners, a referee gives the green light, the cocks are released, owners stand back, and everyone starts shouting.
Just so you know, both cocks lived, no cock has perished during this act. :)
If you arrive at the market at 6:30 am you will notice that there is an absence of men at the stalls. Most of the men arrive at the market at 4:00 am to bring in the livestock and then sell the livestock .
Then they go on a drinking bing . By noon you can see them passed out on the sides of the roads .
The best part of the market runs from 6:30 to 10:30 . There are very few gringos around at 6:30 . As the morning progresses more non locals arrive and the atmosphere slowly starts to change . By 11:00 tour busses from Quite start to arrive . Thats when it is time to leave.
So stay overnight in Otavelo and set your alarm for 5:30 . We stayed outside of Otavelo and we were able to take a taxi to the market at say 6:15 am .
Fondest memory: The food being sold was fascinating . Some gringos were a lot more adventuresome and were eating the guinea pig and other things . There was one large fruit like plant that the locals were
eating , and it seemed quite popular .It was close to the size of a watermellon and people seemed to be picking out the seeds from within the fruit and eating them .
We were not sure what was going on but the locals seemed to know what they wanted.
Favorite thing: The saturday market in Otavalo is a must see. This is the home of the Otavaleno Indians . It is recommended that you arrive at the market as early as possible . We did not arrive at 6:00 am but we came close . Just Google " Otavalo " for info on accomodations . You will have to spend friday night in Otavalo or near by.
Our hotel was in Peguche, a small village besides Otavalo. It takes about a small hour to reach Peguche from the centre of Otavalo. And it is easy to find, just follow the train tracks.
As you can see on the picture, the train tracks are in the middle of the street. On this picture you can also see the hotel we stayed in, the Hostel Aye Human, which is run by a Dutch lady (Mike) and her Ecuadorian husband (Waku). And at the other side of the street is the restaurant which is serving delicious dishes.
About 2 km from Peguche you can visit the peguche waterfalls.
Fondest memory: The great atmosphere, and life music on saturday evening.
After walking around for a few hours at the local markets and in the streets of Otavalo, it was great to sit down on a bench for 15 minutes and to take a small rest break.
Like this it was also great to sit and see daily life of the local people pass by. The main plaza is often the beating heart of a village or city.
Fondest memory: It was great to see the local people walk by, wearing their colourful dresses.
Well, people who have already visited some of my travel pages will know it. One of my preferred photograph objects are children.
As to me Children always have some spontaneity, they have something innocent over them. It is always pure, honest. If they smile, they really feel happy.
That is why I like to make pictures of local children while travelling.
Also visiting a local market is kind of ideal to observe how the locals dress up.
And the advantage of visiting such a market is that this is not a tourist attraction point. What I mean is that the locals do not dress up especially because of the few tourists which are visiting the market. No, here you can see how the dress up daily.
It was very typical to see the ladies with such hat over here.
To me, visiting a local market is the best way to see the locals in their daily life. You can see the locals selling animals, vegetables or clothing. Also you can learn a lot on local vegetables.
And with a big lens, it is possible to make pictures without disturbing this people.
The local people are called Otavalenos.
In contrast with low social position of most Indians, this group is economical and social very appreciated.
Because of this appreciation, they managed to get some special advantages.
Like when they need to go to the military service, they could keep their pony tail, while others needed to have their hair cut very, very short.
To me they were very friendly. No doubt, it is an advantage if you speak some Spanish, like this it is much easier to get some contact with the locals.
Fondest memory: The friendly local people