Otovalo

Otovalo — Jan 5th 

Before I go any farther on these blog posts, you have to know who is on this trip with me!! We have, Tabitha, Isaac, Chessa, Rachel, Jenna (who is actually from Bucks County where I grew up HA small world), Shefali, Daniella (who is from Columbia & has helped us with communicating so much!), Chelan, Helmi, Adam, Mark, Tyler, Peter, Noah (who is a freshman & I just graduated so he is doing bigger and better things then me when I was his age HA), and last but not least the two leaders, Tonya and Natalie & our tour guide Effi with our driver Pedro.

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Effi

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We all are getting along so well — I definitely think I will make some friendships that will last forever here.

Okay, so, Otovalo has been my favorite so far. Where we stayed for two nights was like a fairy house resort. So many flowers, so many colors, so green, so beautiful!! They don’t have much electricity and by looking at their electrical poles I can see why — there are so many wires, like probably 30 different wire on one pole. So, I roomed with Chelan & Jenna in this little hut where they had a fire place and then gave you a warm “water bottle” that kept you warm all night. It was a crazy cool place and experience.

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Again dinner was provided and it was always so good. So much seafood and just fresh indigents because they don’t have commercial farming as much as the states. The only real commercial farming we have seen thus far is for roses. Ecuador is the number one place in the world that grows roses. So if you buy them from somewhere, most likely they were shipped out of Ecuador. What is a little sad is people can only work their for about 10 years because the pesticides get into their lungs and they get sick. Effi also told us that here 24 roses costs only $2 so Ecuadorians don’t get their ladies roses cause they are cheap here, HA.

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So this destination has the BIG market where were to spend all our money at and boy did I spend my money. I bought: 8 bracelets, a shirt, alpaca sweatshirt, poncho, jade knife, overalls, scarf, blanket, 3 rock necklaces, copper bracelet, two little wallets and a leather/swade purse. I spent about $140 but it was all worth it and all of this stuff is hand made. I am supporting the Otovalo community which is better than buying clothes or anything in the states. NO REGRETS!! We had to bargain, the trick was ask half of the price they said first and go back and forth. Either walk away or buy something and most of the time if you walked away they would bring the price down more. It was a fun and interesting experience — I love everything I got 🙂

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On the way home from the market we stopped in two little towns. One was all about music. We met this gentlemen who was very talented and also hand made instruments. He played about 5 different ones for us and it is was so beautiful, it made my heart sing and I couldn’t stop smiling!! I bought his CD cause it was just so delightful. Then we went to the next little town, where they were wood carving artisans. This place was unbelievable. The craftsmanship, the diligence, the elegance of the wood, it was incredible!! We walked into about 6 shops and each one was a little different but the talent was all still outstanding.

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He made the instrument right in front of us!

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It is crazy to think that those skills, techniques, tools all just have been passed down from generation to generation. None of these people went to art school or anything yet their skill set is almost as insane as when the Romans would carve into stone. You just can’t even wrap your head around trying to do something like that, especially me when I work with paint, more in 2D than 3D.

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That night we had a cooking class where we made empanadas and prepped some rainbow trout. It was fun and the empanadas were the best thing I have ever tasted with its homemade light fluffy dough and straight mozzarella cheese. YUUUMMM!!! The fish was amazing too after it was done cooking —it looked pink on inside after cooking it reminding me of salmon. I know my dad would of loved it!!!!!

The other amazing thing about this place and its food is every where we go, they have FRESH blended or squeezed juice of all kinds, and I mean all kinds. I have had: blackberry, strawberry, papaya, tree tomato AND MORE!! I’m sure I’ll remember them // get more soon.

The last morning at Otovalo we got up at early to catch the sunrise behind this volcano — which they were called the Mother & Father volcano since they were pretty close. I had never seen a volcano before so this has been incredible. I think we have seen about 5/10 of them!!! Earthquakes happen almost everyday as well which is insane — that is why there is not a lot of pavement everywhere, more just cement or cement blocks. Also all the house are made out of volcanic cement so they don’t fall down either for these.

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As I said before, we have an amazing group!! Well we started at the airport in Colorado to play this game called catch phrase on Chelan’s phone and when we got here, there was a billiards room so we played pool but then introduced them to heads up!! OH EM GEEEE!! I have not laughed this hard in so long — literally crying. Everyone has been participating and just being goofy and playing. I LOVE IT!! Then the last night I taught Mark, Shef (Shefali), Adam, Tyler and Daniella some drinking games cause a 16 oz beer is $1 here. I have just had so much fun with everyone and everything. I am so thankful to be here at this moment.

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We tried to see the sunset, it was too cloudy in the sky BUT the volcanoes had no clouds on them which Effie says is very unusual and rarely happens that they are so clear. I loved just seeing them in the distance, they have way more of presence than the Rocky’s do. I think because you can feel their energy and know how powerful they are which make them that more incredible. So we will try again another day because I bet it will be epic!!! The sky / clouds all have been so mesmerizing to me — They are my favorite things in Colorado, but here it is more majestic because you are higher up!

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Before we left for Saledo, we went to the meat market to see where people go from all around Otovalo to get chickens, guinie pig, cows, lambs, chickens, chicks, ducks, puppies, clothes, hats — you name it!! But this was a place that people get live stock to keep or to eat. Effie told us it starts at 4am and goes to about 10 or 11 am BECAUSE the smell when it is hot is almost not tolerable so they start really early in morning. It definitely wasn’t as bad as they were making it. Yeah it is sad seeing the animals cause they know what is going on but it is the life cycle. Also, these people probably treat their animals way better than the states does because are living of them instead of making a profit.

Okay, off to check something off my bucket list now… The Swing at the End of the World!!!!!!! 🙂

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Highlights:

  • The market — everything was so colorful & I wanted to just buy it all
  • The little town — definitely has been the cutest so far, I loved it a lot.
  • The resort we stayed in — not just a hotel but an experience
  • Seeing my 1st volcano — they looked like mountains but definitely could tell they had some some sasss
  • The clouds — ugh I can not get enough of them, I love the wispiness and the big poofs — at night it felt like we were just surrounded by clouds, so close to them
  • Agricultural going up the mountains / volcanoes — it is such a pretty sight to see these squares (plots of lands) in a row going up, you don’t see that much in the States — also the lines of the crops is delightful to look at

Downfalls:

  • Not having $500 to spend at the market — everything was just so wonderful, I would of gotten a duffle bag, a dream catcher, some shot glasses, more textiles AAAH loved it.
  • Hearing all the dogs bark at night — there are so many strays and at night you hear them all barking and fighting with one another, sad and scary to me
  • Maybe loosing a pair of pants when we gave them our laundry to do in town — one of my fav bell bottoms
  • Not much wifi — which I don’t really mind at all but it is weird not talk to anyone back home for 4 days now and I wanted to post these as I am on the trip instead of when I got back to the states.

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