It was finally market day and I was excited to see what all the hype was about.
I started the day relatively early at 7.30am to head to the crazy animal market on the western edge of town. This part of the market is like nothing I have ever seen before!
Local indigenous people go and mill around with goats, cows, pigs and various other things on leads where they haggle, inspect and bargain over the best animals!
They also turn up with bags and crates rammed full of live hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs all ready to sell. I would like to think that they are being bought by people as nice pets for children, however I fear that the question of the 'mystery meat' I have been eating for the last few months, has now been solved!
There were even kittens on sale which I really really hope were being sold as pets and not food....
After spending a few hours there marvelling and being completely in ore of the whole sight, I wandered into the main part of the town.
There were stalls set up everywhere and every inch of road and pavement was full! There was a definite lean towards the beginnings of rough logic to the layout with different roads being dedicated to different things, like fruit and veg street. There was even a red indian street selling only feather head pieces, dream catchers and what seemed to be Pocahontas fancy dress gear (which I was soooo tempted to buy!). In true South America scatty style, there were however many roads selling absolutely everything with no order to them at all. Some stalls were selling traditionally made handicrafts while others were selling chicken feet, and others tourist souvenir rubbish!
All of the 'Otavaleños' (local indigenous people) remain self determined and culturally uncompromised and most of them wear nothing but the traditional dress. You can also buy this from head to toe at the market with so many trimmings, decorations and hats in bright colours making the whole scene so full of life and colour.
I couldn't resist adding so many photos to this post to try to get across the full sensory experience that was Otavalo market.