Saturday, August 06, 2005

Quito and the North

Buy Me! Buy Me!

So, Dad arrived Wednesday night for a whirlwind week of Ecuadorian sights. On Thursday, we filled our brains to capacity with art and archaeology at the Museo del Banco Central´s huge collection, then wandered around Quito´s beautiful colonial Old Town. We went up to the tip-top of the Basilica towers, which involved a hair-raising climb up some very thin iron ladders and ended with a climb out a little window to perch on a ledge high above the city at the top of one of the towers. Scary! But it also gave us a view of the Basilica from the inside out, including close-up looks at the structure of the church roof and the inside of the clocks.

Today we are in Otavalo for the famous Saturday market. We left the hotel at 6:30 to go to the animal market, which is quite a sight, with locals selling cows, horses, sheep and pigs. The pigs were especially vocal about being sold--I had never realized what a harsh, high-pitched screaming sound they can make, especially when being dragged on a leash or lifted by their necks and tails onto the back of a pickup truck! After that we headed to the enormous artisan´s market where all kinds of colorful rugs, hammocks, sweaters, ponchos, hats and bags are for sale. We both came away with quite a few new possessions, but I´m happy to say the spending was not out of control. Of particular note is the fact that I continued to resist the temptation to buy a poncho, which means that with only 10 days to go, it looks like I´ll return home after nearly 7 months in South America without one...this is a good thing, because although they are very tempting, the fact is I would absolutely never wear one.