I woke up this morning, to find Otavalo completely transformed. Outside my hostel was a market. Down the street was more market. In fact, the entire town had been converted into one giant, sprawling, souvenir-riddled market! So the rumours were true: it is indeed a big deal, here in Otavalo on Saturday. And since this was my last full day in Ecuador, and in the Central Andes as a whole, it was time to embark on a serious splurge of souvenir and present shopping. I now have a very overstuffed bag, and a rather lean pocket.
Unfortunately, I don't have the photos to prove it (more on that sad issue tomorrow, folks) — but here's what I bought in Otavalo this morning:
- 2 knitted llamas (also made from llama wool)
- 2 sets of fat, hand-made colouring pencils
- 1 little playing drum
- 1 pink, little-girl-sized alpaca jumper
- 1 medium-sized men's alpaca jumper
- 1 alpaca bath mat
- 1 pair of alpaca slippers
- 1 ceramic model of a market stall
- 1 hand-carved highland chess set
- 4 small highland paintings
Not sure exactly how much all that cost me, but it must have been at least US$70. No small spend, eh? Oh well, it's my last chance to buy proper, South American souvenirs — none of this "indigenous stuff" down in Chile / Argentina / Brazil. And I haven't done that much shopping down here so far, anyway.
Well, I wonder who's getting what? 'Cause all of this was present shopping. At any rate, the "pink, little-girl-sized alpaca jumper" is certainly not for me. :P
It was great fun, wandering through the endless market stalls this morning, checking out what was on offer, and of course engaging in plenty of good, old-fashioned bargaining. Wasn't too packed with tourists, either: at least, not with gringo tourists — I think the majority of shoppers were Quiteños, just come down for the morning on the bus. Anyway, after I'd spent all morning browsing and shopping, I found myself carting around a massive garbage bag full of goodies. Once I was in this state, I decided it was time to grab some lunch, and to hop on a bus back to Quito, for my final night in Ecuador.