Posted by: adegraffenreid31708 | 24th Jul, 2010

Otavalo

So, it has momentarily stopped raining. It is so clear out that you can see not only Cotopaxi and all its magnificent snow-topped glory, but also Antisana (rare, except in summer to see from quito), and one other wayyy in the distance also snow-capped. It´s fabulous. Ecuadorans are like, yeah, if you see Antisana for three days in a row, you may not see rain for six weeks or more. And I have to ask, after almost 3 weeks of nonstop cold and rain, is that a bad thing???

Anyway, last week I had a great time leaving Quito for the first time and heading to Otavalo. How did we get there?? LUCK. April and I (the girl I went with), must have been pinched by leprechauns at some point because I have no idea how we managed to get there at all.

So, we left our school about 6:45, and it was raining (of course), and dark. We got on the trolley to the last stop. From there, we needed to take a special bus to get to the northern bus terminal. We didn´t see it. We left the trolley stop and went to look for a taxi. Somehow, we looked around and managed to see a bus going where we needed to go, arriving just at the right moment (25cent bus ride, so much cheeper than a taxi). We got on, it was absolutely packed, but somehow April managed to hear the bus driver talking about the two americans on board (i don´t know how because i couldn´t hear anything). So, April struck up a conversation and BEFRIENDED our bus driver. In doing so, she managed to realize that the bus was not, in fact, going where we needed to go. But, in befriending him, the bus driver stopped, specifically to be like – that bus, on the corner, RIGHT THERE outside will take you to Otavalo. I have no idea how we managed to somehow be on the right street at the right time for a bus passing through Otavalo to Ibarra. So, we asked the new bus driver and he said, yes, he stopped in Otavalo before moving on to Ibarra.

So, we got on the bus. Then, the next leg of our adventure. As the bus started to move, the driver put in a video. No joke, it was the second Twilight, dubbed in Spanish, and recorded/bootlegged in a movie theatre. It was hilarious. Well, then we realized that the driver does not, in fact, let you know the town he is stopping in, you have to just kind of know where you are. So, we figured, in 2 hours we´ll ask the driver to let us know when we get to Otavalo (the trip is supposed to take 2.5 hours per the guide book). Yeah. 1.5 hours later, April is sleeping and i happen to look out the window and see a sign that says “Otavalo, 3 km”, another “Otavalo” with some kitchua, and another which said “Bienvenidos a Otavalo”. I was like, April, wake up, we´re here. She was like, no we´re not, you sure. At which point I said “I saw a sign that said bienvenidos a otavalo, that´s pretty damn sure”. So we got off (but not before april double checked with the bus driver). Again -LUCK. And, we happened to find a really nice, cheap hostel, really close by. So much luck.

We got up the next morning and headed out to the Otavalo market at 7:30 the next morning. The market is one of the biggest and best in Latin America. It was AMAZING!!!! I am soooo going back with money and buying stuff. There´s all sorts of bread, produce, food, clothes, and, or course, indian crafts (art, leather, textile, you name it). It´s really amazing, and i´´m def. going back at least once or twice.

After two hours, the hoards of toursits descended, so April and I hopped a bus to what we thought were the lakes. Not. We ended up in the middle of no where. But, it was a beautiful walk back and an excellent view of how the majority of Ecaudorans live.

Then, we hopped another bus to the Lago San Pedro. And, even though we ended up in a city that had San Pedro EVERYWHERE, April didn´t believe we were there and made us stay on the bus. So, we missed our stop. But, we ended up taking a fabulous bus ride through the beautiful equadoran countryside. Completely worth it and fun. We got back to San Pedro and had an authentic almuerzo ($1,50 for soup, salad, seco, and juice), and went to the lake (though it was raining). There was an awesome resort there where you could Jet ski, swim, blob, kayak, canoe, etc – that was aimed to Equadorans rather than american tourists. it was great.

So, Otavalo, awesome. I def. am going back and going exploring (other markets, the lagoons, etc).

TESOL  – intense. taken over my life. At least i´m learning a lot. One of the funniest moments was when a student surprised us with ” the orange is more delicious than the pinneapple”- We had no idea he knew delicious, it was fabulous. sooo many great stories.

So, one word on Quito culture. Fried Chicken. They LOVE their fried chicken. There are more KFCs here than McDonalds. There are entire KFC PALACES. No joke, these KFCs are like twice the size of my old house. I don´t know whether to be amused, or offended by the overbearing globalization. And it´s not just KFC – there are tons of other fried chicken restaurants. It´s really interesting. Which is good, because i love fried chicken. And after three weeks of comida tipica, i did not feel bad eating fried chicken when my host family bought some for lunch.

One more week of TESOL!! I should have a working contract signed in two weeks 🙂

Responses

I really want you to bust out some photos. These scenes you describe are magnificent.

Lexy, could you summarize what the purpose of TESOL is, and how it relates to the teaching job you will contract for? I’ve been asked by a number of folks about this.

Very interesting bus adventure. It sounds like getting around Ecuador can involve a bit of guesswork and luck.

Yeah, i want to too. But that requires access to internet that is not a) ridiculously slow dial up and b)on a public (potentially infected computer). Hopefully i’ll be able to eventually 🙂

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