Saturday, February 16, 2008

Otavalo, Pt 2

(Otavalo, Ecuador)- Here's the tourista must-see. Otavalo lies about 90 minutes northeast of Quito. The drive is wonderful, with mountains, cliffs, and river views that aren't a bad rival to the Pacific Coast Highway in California. The town is essentially an enormous open-air market every Saturday, with everything from freshly harvested grains to the tourist draws: traditional clothing and crafts.
One of the less crowded streets. Ame holds Isabel along with our travel companions June, Joelle and the retired policeman who was June's host.

You are expected to haggle here. Once, I gave the asking price to a woman for something. She was stunned, so much so that it took a moment for her to remember to thank me. It was like that scene from Monty Python's "Life of Brian", where Brian tries to buy a fake beard for a disguise.

Ame inspects a traditional dress. We ended up not getting one for Isabel. Ame did haggle, however, so everyone at least had that satisfaction.

Hand-carved charms on necklaces, and patches featuring the likenesses of Che Guevara and 50-Cent. Some great irony there.
The likeness of Che Guevara could be seen here and there throughout Ecuador, but nowhere like Otavalo. Apparently, Che still holds a great appeal for Ecuadorians living in the rural areas, especially those as close to Columbia as this.
I was greatly tempted to provoke some of the people bearing the likeness. If they had the image on their truck, I wanted to ask if it was because they believed in Che. If they said yes, the response would be to agree and to declare that all property is theft, and that I would be taking the truck. Just want to see if there is consistency in their beliefs. Ame frowned on such activity.
That isn't your shirt! It's our shirt!
Worn with ARMANI jeans! Oh, the irony and the guilt!

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