Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Saturday Market, Otavalo, Ecuador

The indigenous people of Otavalo have established quite the reputation with their fine textiles. In fact we have encountered their work in markets throughout Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. On a visit to the post office we even saw several large shrinkwrapped packages stuffed with 'Domican Republic' embroidered bags and wall hangings all bound for the homes of unsuspecting all-inclusive-resorters.

Each Saturday the majority of the town becomes transformed into one of the largest (if not the largest) open air markets in South America. Here anything from crafts to livestock and produce can be found. Otavalo is only a few hours north of Quito, so as a result becomes engulfed with Quitonians and gringos on Saturdays. While certainly not the most authentic market we have encountered, the colourfulness and bustle where certainly impressive.

Safe travel tip number 3:
When visiting busy markets, try to blend in and avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Las Lajas, Ipiales, Colombia

Las Lajas Cathedral, in the town of Ipiales, is right on Colombia's border with Ecuador.

Someone saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in the cliffs of this gorge, so they built a church there. As the church also acts as a bridge, Josh believes a farmer was just tired of having to walk all the way around the gorge. If you don't like his cynicism, go here for a substantially more divine explanation.

Tourist llamas ready for a hard day's work

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nevado del Tolima Hike: day 4

Breakfast: hamburger bun, rice, scrambled eggs, and a huge hunk of homemade cheese

Adriana and Juan-Esteban



Tiny orchids

Giant Earthworm!

Clear-winged butterfly

Towering Wax Palms