Pujili Market & Pinturas de Tigua — Jan 7th
Headed to the market in the morning, we were able to dive into the culture a little more than Ottovalo. Effy told us that there would not be many tourist here as it is more for the locals to get their goods. We arrived and there were people everywhere walking around, it was a busy day at the Pujili Market. We had 45 minutes to walk around. I was fresh bananas, fresh berries and fruit, just crates of it. There was a grain section where you could just buy grains or you could get them grounded up into types of flour — it spelled so good to walk by those. There even was some wood carvings of kitchen utensils and bowls. We walked by pounds of fish that were ready to be sold. It was a big farmers market that all looked enticing.
The ladies there had tall socks and bright colors — pink, orange, purple. The skirts they wore and the poncho/scarfs were all very beautiful. That was their culture and they embraced it. Effy told us that if we saw feathers on their hats, it either meant they were trying to keep bad spirits/energies away OR they were single (and ready to mingle ha!).
No one really bought anything at this market besides some fruit — which you still had to be careful with. The water was unsafe and then bacteria is everywhere in this country. Effy got some mango while a couple of people got guava. Guava was super interesting tasting. I had to eat it about three times and then decided not for me. It was sweet and had a texture of a banana or orange with little hairs yet a big seed in the middle. People LOVED them though. Jenna become guava hands at one point on our bus, so funny!!
After experiencing that, the rest of the day was full of art things — my favorite!! We went to pottery shop and did some clay work. We learned how these people make a living making molds and then pressing clay into them and we learned the drying process. We all paid $5 to make a wall decor clay piece and everyone could pick their own mold. Mine looked like a scene of the Quito square. Once you pressed the clay into the mold, you then had to scrape the access clay off the back so it was smooth. Then, the hardest part, to take the clay out of the mold with out ruining the design. The technique they used was to use a big glob of clay to then stick and pull it out. Once that was completed, it dried for 3 hours in doors and then another 2 hours out in the sun. Once that was finished, they fired it in the “kiln” looking fire pit where the clay turned into an organey color.
After that, they either stay beautiful orange or they paint on the them so they can be sold at the markets. The painting skills I kept seeing and admiring were so beautiful and so colorful. They were able to do that whole drying process and then mail them to us in Guayiquill. I will definitely be painting my in the future!! They also had a store at this house where they had all the clay master pieces for sale. I bought a magnet with the famous artist faces on it. Love how unique it is.
From there we adventured to the next destination which was lunch with the locals. We went to Manuel Toapuiza’s house where we had chicken soup, corn, beans, potatoes and fruit. This chicken soup wasn’t the average soup you’d think of in the states. This soup was lots of broth and then a whole chicken in it — bones and all. We all were a little baffled at first but once you picked some chicken off it and took it out of the bowl, it was great!! My favorite was putting pieces of the potatoes, corn and chicken back into the broth. It was delicious!! I also think this was one of the few meals that we didn’t eat dessert after which was fine with me!!
We then had the honor to watch Manuel paint one of the Tigua paintings on the sheep skin canvas. It was incredible!! He used simple acrylic colors, had a little ledge for his arm (which I may appropriate here in the states) and mixed the colors on the canvas. He made it look too easy & I am saying it, thats saying something. Manuel painted Cotapoxi in the background because that was one of the main symbols the Tigua people include in their paints. Along with the condor, llamas and people working on the farm. Thats what they knew, their daily life tasks so that is what they would paint. Manuel did a small fast painting for us where he included Cotapoxi and llamas.
I bought a piece there for $15 that was a beautiful scene of people working with the condors flying around and Cotapoxi volcano in the background. The bright vivid colors were one of my favorite components in these. I REALLY wanted a big one that he was selling for $90 (on the left below) which if I didn’t spend so much money at the market, I totally would of tried to swing that. It was worth way more than $90 with the amount of detail in it. This piece captured my eye for sure — Effy told me to come back in a year and it would be cheaper, he was a wise guy haha.
It was so lovely to have Manuel and his family to open his home to us for the afternoon — cook us food, paint for us, it was all so lovely and wonderful. He even allowed us to feed his llamas and try some of the fruit in his garden. Everyone we have met on this journey has been so friendly and welcoming, it’d be nice if the states had that mentality more.
After leaving there, we had a bus ride to Riobama which had a pit stop to meet Rodrigo — a bad ass 61 year-old climber. He showed us his home that was a type of resort for climbers. We later found out that he claims that Chimborazo at 11,800 meters high, is in fact the tallest mountain in the world IF you measure it from the core of the Earth. I had no idea but it is really cool thing to learn. And on top of that, Rodrigo told us that is was only $350 to stay at his place to get acclimated to the elevation, have all the gear to climb Chimborazo and the guides to help you do it as well. We were all MIND blown but how cheap it was to climb the tallest mountain in the world. I think some of us will definitely be back there 😉
- The market and seeing how colorful food and life can be
- Seeing a Tigua artist work
- Learning about Chimborazo and climbing — I would LOVE to go back
- Meeting Rodrigo — got his card and email, would love to hang with him again if I were in Ecuador
- Not being able to buy the $90 painting — ugh it was so beautiful!!
- My leaders not telling me to bring my phone into lunch to so I could take pictures of the painter
- Not being able to buy more things at the market — although I don’t think I would of been able too