We were able to join a Vision Journey Tour (http://www.hcjb.org/engage/vision-journey/vision-journeys.html) and take an overnight trip to Otavalo http://www.galapagosonline.com/Explore_Ecuador/Andes/otavalo-area/Otavalo.htm, (a craft town) and Cotacachi (Ecuador’s leather capital).
We left Friday afternoon and made it to Otavalo in time to watch them tear down their craft stalls. They had piles of crafts that they would put into huge bags and carry them to hand pushed wagons to take home or wherever they store them. Sometimes they hire people to carry their goods. Often the bags of goods are larger than the person carrying them. It was a mass of people shopping, selling and some little ladies begging. I think it smells better than Africa. They had food, carvings, scarves from Alpaca and pretend Alpaca. (I hope the ones I bought were real Alpaca. They said they were). Big bags full of shelled corn, bags of spices, piles of fruit and vegetables. Everyone calling out their wares. It really was a wake up to all the senses, smell, sight, hearing and even touch. It was kind of fun to barter with them. I found the easiest way was to pick up several things and ask a certain price for all of them. It was a bit more difficult when I bought just one thing, but still worked.
Saturday morning was breakfast at the hotel, http://www.hotelelindioinn.com/imagenes.php, Indio Inn in Otavalo. It was quite nice. We had dinner there on Friday night. It was Bread, steak with potatoes, rice and veggies. Fruit juice and fruit for dessert. We also had breakfast there, which was bread, fruit, eggs and juice, coffee or tea.
After shopping until noon on Saturday we went on to Cotacachi, where we ate lunch (taco with meat and avocado filling, soup with popcorn and banana chips for croutons, chicken, vegetables, fried potatoes (we skipped the rice) and strawberries and cream for dessert… oh yes, fresh fruit to drink On this bus trip, a couple of young girls rode the bus from Otavalo and sang to us and sold dolls and scarves They got off n Cotacachi where they would catch another bus and do it all over again. The older was 17 and the younger 5. Very sweet girls. We walked down the street in this town and saw the leather goods. I sure wish I had picked up that leather purse for $12. Larry will have to bring me back down, I guess. 🙂
Then we went to the town with wood carvings. We shopped and looked at carvings, listened to a band play and sing in the city center and talked a little with an old homeless lady that has been there for a long time. This was also a potty stop. Paid 15 cents for some toilet paper. The carvings were beautiful. I bought a small hand carved nativity that was carved using the faces of local people.
Our trip home was slow. I think it was about 7:00 when we got home. The road winds through the mountains, with bumper to bumper traffic a lot of the way. The mountain are beautiful. There are green houses for roses all over, even on the steep sides of hills. They ship roses from here all over the world. They are cheap and easy to find here.
Sunday we worshiped with some of the English speaking people here. It was actually in both languages for the songs and scripture, but the preaching was in two languages. It was a two hour service.
We had lunch at a little place ‘around the corner’ and had a hamburger and fries. I wonder if there is a place that serves Ecuadorian food, or if they are like Americans and don’t have ‘local’ food. After lunch we decided to explore a bit and walked to several stores, the local market and then to the Mall. It had a lot of American shops including, McDonald’s, KFC and Hallmark, as well as others.
We bought a 2 liter of coke on the way home as well as crackers and hand sanitizer. If we have a big meal at noon, we will probably snack on peanut butter and crackers and fruit in the evening.
I forgot to mention that Friday morning, I went with Larry over to the storage area when the transmitter is, and helped to put screws back in place and a few things before our trip.
It has been a good weekend. So far, we have really enjoyed Ecuador. Hopefully, I will have some pictures to add soon. We left our camera charging at home, so had to borrow a camera.