Today we had the opportunity to hear an Otavaleno man named Cesar Cotacachi who works to preserve elements of the Otavalo culture. He showed us various instruments, looms and archaeological finds from generations past. He also gave us some insight into the habits and methods of Otavalenos in their adaptions of their business methods over the years. We later experienced this first hand at the market in downtown Otavalo, a spectacular sight with booths upon booths of handcrafts, weavings, jewelry, and also food.
Personally I found it a bit overwhelming to navigate, there were so many options for any given item, and they were all of exceptional quality as far as I could tell. Seeing as we came to Ecuador specifically to learn about economics my fear of shopping certainly felt a bit out of place. However, I found the market very fascinating and was pulled into the experience of it by casual anthropological interest. Each Otavaleno salesperson met my wandering eye with immediate presentations of mas colores, and insistences that I try on whatever I happen to have just touched. This all coupled with my broken high school Spanish and I was quite lost at points. Thanks to some good friends and some decent attempts at bargaining, I eventually made it out with several moderately decisive purchases and most importantly: plenty of delicious street food in my stomach.
By Takoda Friesen