Shopping Around Ecuador

I spent the last weekend with 20 other teachers in some of the villages a couple hours outside of Quito. We paid one of the school bus drivers to take us, and it was nice to have private transportation. There isn't a middle class here, so shopping can be quite unconventional. Most wealthy Ecuadorians actually fly to America to shop. I don't bother clothes shopping here, because it costs so much money to import the clothing, but there are tons of other goods you can buy in Quito and elsewhere!
Stop 1: Otavalo
Otavalo is the home of a famous marketplace. It’s famous because it is massive, sprawling out from the central plaza of the city into all of the surrounding streets. The central square has a lot of artisan work, but as you branch out into the city there is jewelry, art, and a lot of other options for shoppers with a heavy wallet. It had a nice row of food carts from which my roommate and I sampled as well. I thought it tasted fine at the time. Lingering vomiting and diarrhea days later beg to differ. Ah, life in a third world country.

 The meal that probably made Laura miss work today :(
I did not take photos of the markets because I didn’t want to attract attention to myself and bring a digital camera. Imagine any Andean Artisan market, x100. There you go! I do have photos of some of my purchases, however. And a photo of our afternoon snack, credit due to my roommate.

 Great snack between stops
Photo Credit:

 Pretty bracelet that I haggled and haggled for
Stop 2: Cotocachi
A town that stole my heart. This is Ecuador’s leather town. Calf skins everywhere. Leather jackets, beautiful boots, the most gorgeous handbags and briefcases. I bought myself a little something special. We also stumbled across an adorable café with homemade carrot cake and tasty cappuccinos. The whole city was beautiful with clean, tree lined streets.

 My new leather bag for work. I'm a serious person now guys.
Stop 3: Cayambe
We stopped in this little town for bizcochos, or as our fellow teacher tour guide said, “culinary surprises.” The town reminded me of Guatemala, although much of Latin American architecture tends to repeat itself (central park/plazas, cobblestone, colonial style buildings, unfinished top floors, unpainted sides of houses, etc.). Bizcochos are buttery, flaky pastries that you dip in cheese, caramel, hot chocolate, coffee, whatever suits your fancy. I dipped mine in cheese and caramel at the same time because the cheesy was spongy and salty, perfect with the sweet caramel.

On another note, right before I posted this, I got to Skype with my family back home. Yay!

Hola fajja!


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