While I still slumber softly Mario sets off before sunrise towards the market to take pictures during the assembly.
He returns at 9 and presents his photos and a timelapse of the market construction. So after breakfast we go on a shopping tour. The hostel is now packed as well. The weekly event has started.
Not much has changed on the market. Prices haven’t gone up much, but that always depends on how well you negotiate. I’m not as much on the “jewellery from seeds”-hype as I was 7 years ago… Could I have gotten older? I put the creepy thought aside and concentrate on shopping souvenirs.
I still think the alpaca scarves are just as beautiful and buy a whole bunch of them… I can decide which of them to gift away at home.
For our dads we want to buy Panama hats – actually they have their origin here (courtesy of Wikipedia ). There are several different stands but I find what I’m looking for quite late.
Looking around at a booth and asking about the size, the salesman puts a hat on me again and again… Fits perfectly. “Yes sweetheart, that’s great, but if you’d listen to me, you would have understood by now that I don’t want the hat for me, but for my dad. Dad! Bigger head!” I give it up and find what I’m looking for at the neighboring stand with the nice and more cautious lady. Our dads will get the same hats and we make our way back.
We pass by the supermarket where we stock up with Dulce de Leche.
We gather our backpacks and walk to the bus station. Actually it is really easy to walk through Otavalo. Even if you have some luggage.
“À Quito, à Quito, à Quito, à Quito?” Yep, in this case you’re right, the tourists loaded with giant backpacks actually want to go to Quito this time. We are led to the bus that departs next and are on the way.
Two rows in front of us it suddenly gets noisier. Two women have got into an argument, I think, about the choice of seats. The dispute quickly becomes more generic. You can see here the furrow in the society of Ecuador, which has opened up between the indigenous tribes of the rural population in the Andes regions and the descendants of Spanish immigrants, most of whom live in the cities. The Indigena keeps calling out that she is being treated as a second-class human being (or “Como un animal” as she puts it) by women like the lady she is fighting with.
The other people on the bus roll their eyes or grin about the fight, but you notice that it’s a bit awkward for everyone. Mario is about to order “Dos Helados por las Señoras!” from one of the passing ice cream sellers on the bus. The bus driver has another idea and turns on the TV with a B-Action-Movie at full volume… Every now and then the shooting is interrupted by a bold “Como un animal!!!” but the rest of the ride is quieter. I can well understand that here deep-seated feelings can be kicked off by a minor incident.
We take the C5 bus back to La Mariscal from the Terminal Norte. The bus is full to the brim, but we manage to get a seat and put our heavy backpacks on our laps. At one point Mario is harassed stupidly by some guy. He should get up for a woman with a child. Yes. In principle that’s correct, except that maybe some others around us who don’t have 15 kilos of backpacks on their laps could have stood up as well. All the more so as the backpack would have blocked the way for everyone else. The other people around us also look at the guy puzzled. Well, if you’re going after someone, it’s the gringo, eh? Mario gets a little fired up, but I make him ignore the bloke. We have to switch busses again at Colon, but the next Trolé leaves at the same place. All in all, the public transport in Quito is really good.
Our hotel for this night is called “Art Plaza”. Very cute and the place in front of it (Plaza Borja Yerovi) lives up to its name. All buildings are lovingly painted. There is a small fountain in the middle in whose basin some hummingbirds are bathing. Absolutely recommendable!
We go back to the heart of Mariscal for dinner. To the Plaza Forch. But you can tell it’s Saturday. It gets loud and crowded and yes, today I realize for the second time that I am not 25 anymore. We just thought about going back to the restaurant that was so nice last time with the relaxed live music. But the live music has turned into an unbearable reggaeton noise coming out of the speakers and it gives me a headache. So we have to look for something else.
A girl on the street intercepts us and asks if we are looking for a restaurant. I’m always a bit cautious about something like that, but she seems to be nice and we decide to follow her. It quickly becomes clear why the restaurant needs a “tout”. The entrance is well hidden in the parallel street of the Plaza and you first have to climb 3 floors through a staircase. But upstairs we find a modern and clean restaurant.
The very young staff of “Miskay” tells us that they just started 4 weeks ago. The food on the menu is a bit more expensive than that of the restaurant below but the menu looks interesting. Nothing run-of-the-mill. They offer very interesting cocktail-creations. The food is a bit difficult to choose for me in this case, because a lot of it contains gluten. But at least they can tell me exactly where there’ s wheat in it, which isn’t always the case. Mario orders a pretty tasty-looking goat meat goulash. I also get a very delicious gluten-free ceviche with patacones. So I’m also quite happy.
We are satisfied with our last evening in Ecuador and are preparing with a heavy heart for our departure tomorrow.