A Walk Through Otavalo on Market Day

Otavalo has an amazing market with all sorts of products, handicrafts, and food. If you want to buy some beautiful handmade products sold by the families that actually make them this is the place to go. Walking along, you’re not just hear Spanish spoken, but Quechua, and the languages of people from all over the world checking out deals and haggling. Totally worth the 22 hours I spent on the bus to get there and back. Nothing too fancy, this video.  Just taking you on a little stroll with me through the busiest part of the plaza on Saturday market day. ¡Disfrutalo!

Seashell Bracelets

The village of Libertador Bolivar is about 15 minutes north of the the village where I live, and is the location of a Disabled Children’s Center that I work with. The town is full of artisans selling jewelry, hammock, hats, and dresses. The director of the Disabled Children’s Center is an artisan herself, she makes beautiful Panama Hats.

One day after our meetings, she took me on a little tour of the pueblo so I could meet some more of the locals. As we walked down the street greeting everyone, and she pointed out a small cement and cane hut. “El tiene joyas de conche muy bonitas si quieres ver.” In front were a few colorful hammocks and dresses hanging, but other then that it looked pretty dark and abandoned. Once I walked in, I could see that the room was lined with tables, full of beautiful jewelry and statuettes, all made of sea shell. Javier, came out of the back room where I could see, piles uncut, and partly polished seashells on his work bench. He’s in his late 20s and has been making artisan jewlery from seashells since his mother and grandpa taught him as a young boy. Continue reading


People are complaining about the weather. The sun spends the day tucked away behind a smoky gray sky. Somedays we are just spritzed with a cool spray of mist coming down throughout the day. The sky is too lazy to rain, and instead gives us one long continuous sneeze. The tourists are grumpy. I love it. They weren’t here a few months ago. The air used to be heavy with moisture; the sun bore down on the back of your neck like a damp towel that’s been thrown in the microwave before being draped over your shoulders. Continue reading

Advice for the Extranjero in Ecuador: Shopping

How to not get ripped off while shopping.

  • Speak some Spanish
    Six months ago (has it really been that long!) I came here with one pair of well worn jeans, and promptly ripped them across the back from the crotch, just shy of my left cheek. Being shameless I continued to wear them for about a month and over that month the tear made a slow migration across the back of my thigh until I was forced to either throw them away, or give up all decorum and join the nude hippies sunbathing on the beach. I chose the former. My previous attempts to replace these jeans in Guayaquil ended in failure, since my skills had not been up to par for the amount of haggling that my price range required. Recent complements on my Spanish gave me new courage and I arrived at the market in Libertad with money in my pocket and a mind set for battle.
    Continue reading