Down and Out in Otavalo
Otavalo Travel Blog› entry 5 of 115 › view all entries
Otavalo is a very pleasant market town just north of Quito. On Saturdays it hosts one of the largest artisan and food markets in South America with plenty of high quality examples of indigenous craftwork for sale.
At least that"s what the guidebooks say.
I didn"t care about the guidebooks though as, within 2 minutes of getting into town, I was sqealing like a pig in a sack as I realised my wallet was gone. I suppose I"ll never know if it was thieved or if I just lost it but, thanks to careful preparation and card splitting (cheers Lee!) I had one cash card left and copies of the relevant numbers stashed elsewhere so I could cancel the missing cards ASAP. I"d also like to convey my heartfelt thanks to Natwest for the most excellent hold music on their missing cards hotline.
Anyway, crisis over, Otavalo was a laugh. Andy and I went to the markets (interesting in a markety kind of way and not as full of tat as I"d expected) and then, being Englishmen and strongly allergic to shopping, went drinking instead.
We happened upon a bar that promised live Andean folk music and, several beers down the line, were dragged onto the dancefloor by some local indigenous ladies of, shall we say, mature vintage for a bit of a shindig. It"s bloody hard dancing in walking shoes but the locals seemed to appreciate my unorthodox slidy feet technique (well they were pointing, laughing and snapping photos anyway).
At the bar, we met Sandra, a Columbian lady with the dance moves of Shakira and a knack of winning arguments by sheer persistence. Arguments like - shall we have another drink or not? Yes we shall.
This persistence led me to a severe hangover on Sunday morning and whilst Andy went walking with Dirk Digler the Dynamic Dutchman to some random crater lake (it looked crap anyway, ahem) , I was still floundering in my pit. Later, forced to check out of the hostel, I took on water, tablets and , under the guidance of Sandra, a large slice of strawberry pie and icecream. Ecuador"s Pilsner comes in big bottles and it may be cheap, but you always pay the price in the end.