On our last weekend in Ecuador, a “taxista”  drove us to the far side of Otavalo, to Lago San Pablo, a lake at the foot of the volcano Imbabura.

The original plan had been to take a bus. Gary and I and our friend were waiting with a dozen other people at the bus stop when a taxi driver pulled up.  He shouted out that he’d take anyone to Otavalo for 50 cents each.  We jumped in, and so did a teenage girl from the bus stop.  He explained that he lives in Otavalo and had to go home anyway, so he offered discount rides to us.

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My dental work is DONE!!  So is Gary’s.  Our Spanish lessons are DONE!!  Finito!  The dental work seems to be totally successful.  Our teeth are now in relatively great shape, and our responsibilities are completed.  We are free to spend our last few days doing whatever we like.   This is our Ecuador journey so far. 

We exercised our new dental work on some freshly baked cinnamon rolls and chocolate bread.  Eating bread from the local bakers (panaderías) doesn’t seem to bother my digestion, here. Something is apparently different in the way the wheat is processed, or grown, or something along those lines.

Continue reading “Ruminations On Our Ecuador Journey So Far”

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Small towns in Ecuador each have their own unique specialties.  Meaning, they focus on one craft and become a destination for that particular craft.  We are staying in a town famous for it leather work, but there are other towns nearby and elsewhere in Ecuador that specialize in woodworking, weaving, pottery, guitar making, and more. 

Cotacachi – Leathergoods

The most popular street in Cotacachi is Leather Street.  That’s not the official name, it’s what it generally referred to because of all the leather shops lining the street.   These shops are filled with leather jackets, vests, purses, pants, and assorted accessories, all, to my knowledge, made in Ecuador.  The quality of these products is outstanding.  You can buy a leather jacket in just about any color you can imagine.  You can find leather shoes that are locally made.  You can even watch them being made.  It’s refreshing to see shoes made this way, and not imported from China.

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Ecuador is a relatively poor country where most people cannot afford to own and operate a car or truck.  Also, many of the towns and cities are very walkable.  As a result, public transportation is abundant here.  Buses and taxis are the most common mode of transportation, but there are also a lot of motorcycles and scooters on the road, which are cheaper to buy, own, and operate. 

Buses

buses in ecuadorThe major mode of transportation to get around Ecuador is buses.  The majority of the people living here cannot afford to own cars, and there are many who simply choose not to own one because it’s not necessary.  A bus ride from Cotacachi to Quito is currently about $2.50. One from Cotacachi to Otavalo is .35, and they run all of the time.  The buses are all diesel so they are noisy and polluting but they are a necessity in Ecuador. 

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otavalo market
Otavalo Mercado

Otavalo, Ecuador is a city 2 hours north of Quito.  A 15-minute bus ride south from Cotacachi makes for easy access to the city.  Here is a link for more information about this area:  https://wikitravel.org/en/Otavalo

For 35 cents, five of us took the decorated, painted and curtained bus from Cotacachi to Otavalo one cloudy day.  We wanted to see the famous Otavalo market on a slow day, to avoid the weekend crowds. Here is the official tourism video for the city of Otavalo:  Otavalo Tourism Video

Continue reading “Journey to Otavalo Market”

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