Cultura Indígena en Otavalo

[Sarah] OhhhhhhhhhhhhhHT-a-va-lo!, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain… :D I couldn’t resist… ok, over to Ramesh…

[Ramesh] I’m typing this in a cafe in Cuenca listening to an Ecuadorian cover band belt out hits from the 80′s. From the way the crowd cheers every song, it appears that they love cheesy 80′s music just as much as we do. Just another in what I’m sure will be a a long series of surreal experiences on this trip.

It was nice to be in a big city like Quito where everyone was busy going about their business and didn’t really give us second looks (well not me anyway, Sarah gets looks pretty much everywhere). After a couple days in the city we took the bus to Otavalo which is known for its large market featuring indigenous crafts. Before the big Saturday market, we took a tour of some of the surrounding villages that specialize in different crafts.

For me, the highlight of the tour was a local waterfall, Las Cascadas de Peguche. Our guide Benicio explained that the cascada was a sacred site for the local indigenous people and that every year they have a big festival where thousands of people come and bathe in the falls (and the river) at midnight as a sort of spiritual renewal for the new year according to the indigenous calendar.

The other highlight of our stay in Otavalo was the afternoon we spent conversing with Enrique Cachiguango, a local radio host and indigenous activist who was referred to us by Kashyapa. He gave us a lecture on local history, some of which was doubly interesting because it tied in with a book about the Incas which we both had just finished reading. All in all it was a very enlightening day and a great way to wrap up our visit.

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Looking over Otavalo

Weaving with Tortora reeds from the nearby lake

Awesome Tortora reed chair

Field trip!

Entrance to Las Cascadas de Peguche... and very polite little kids!

Walking to falls

Our fantastic guide, Benicio

Las Cascadas de Peguche, indigenous sacred site

Water being channeled down a chute from the waterfall

Blue flowers on the hike down from the falls

Indigenous woman carrying tortora mats that are bigger than she is

Combing the wool

Spinning wool into dyeable yarn

Example of yarn dyed with Achiote seeds

Dye obtained by squishing a tiny white bug that lives on a cactus plant

Bug juice mixed with lime juice - breakfast of champions!

So hard to pick just one!

Me - live, in concert

Yet another amazing flower

"That hat's a little small, Benicio..."

Colored hats at the factory

The Sri Lankan Indiana Jones

Not sure what model the hat is, but girl doing the modelling is kinda cute...

Us in front of the lake

Flowers on the hike around the lake

Spices at the market

Lots of beaded jewelry

Pants! Pick a color, any color...

A little rain never stopped me from shopping...

A typical vendor at the market

Hats in every imaginable shape, character, animal

There were all kinds of toys for sale

On Saturdays, the market is so big they close off a bunch of streets

Jewlelry popular with the local women

Religious statues alongside all kinds of carved animals

Grilled bananas

Traditional beads worn by indigenous women

Yarn for sale

Traditional blouses

Not-so-traditional shoes

You can find it all at the market!

Random one-man show on the street. Very enthusiastic performance!

Mmmmmangos!

Tempting...but will probably make us sick. :(

Poor guy.... poor, tasty guy...

Encebollado - yummy broth-y soup with tuna and lime

Our cocinera

How would you look snowboarding in that?!

My new necklace!

Ah, so many scarves... and so little space in my backpack!

The ultimate chess game - Incas vs Spaniards

One of our favorite places in Otavalo - a pie shop!

We have yet to try this...

Headbands

Traditional image of 'tres mujeres'

Enrique, our tutor on local indigenous history

Yes, more Pringles.

2 thoughts on “Cultura Indígena en Otavalo

  1. I would so love to wear that hat/mask while on the slopes. Looks like you guys are having a blast. Miss y’all. Sarah, I had dinner at Nefelle’s in Tahoe. Isn’t that the place we ate for your bro’s birthday the day I found out Tanya was pregnant?

    Safe travels!

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