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We Are Flying Solo

September 17, 2010

Day 2: The Faces of Otavalo

The Otavalo market is the largest in South America and it's where we ended up after about two hours of driving north of Quito on Saturday. A large part of the market is just the same mass produced stuff repeated about 400 times for silly tourists, but along the outer edge you see the food stalls that the locals frequent. Most interesting to me was watching people, as per usual.

In Ecuador, you generally have two ethnicities: (1) the indigenous people and (2) mestizos, who are of mixed indigenous and Spanish descent. Most indigenous folks maintain the traditional dress of their culture. I will let their faces speak for themselves.

These women are tiny -- they came up to about my hip bone.  Some older women were begging for coins with plastic bowls.  Many people in Ecuador are subsistence farmers, scratching a living out of the land as best they can.  As in many places where poverty abounds, women do much of the hard labour here, carrying massive bundles in a piece of cloth tied around their torsos.

Tables were covered in every kind of fruit and vegetable you could imagine.  And many I couldn't.  Here, our guide, Gaspar, haggles for a bag of large beans.

Chicken anyone?  Another interesting phenomenon was the sale of pork -- pigs were roasted whole and then presented in varying poses, often with celery or carrots stuck in their ears and mouths.  Sometimes, they even shared a macabre smile.


  1. Dude, that pig picture is kinda freaky!

  2. Eeeeheeeheee, I didn't even know the woman was in the background. It ended up being one of my favourite shots from the trip!