Market day, that one time of the week when a quiet town comes to life. It’s the polar opposite of what us cyclists always find upon arriving in small towns across South America. Quiet and Tranquil. It’s where locals and tourists play the verbal game of who blinks first lose. You can find weavings, regional delicacies and local fruits in these places, all contributing to an explosion of colors.
Where Otavalo’s differ is the Saturday animal market. I’ve never seen quite like it. Backyard livestock growers come down to Otavalo hoping to turn their beloved “pet” into profit. Money in the bank. Everyone either went there to buy or sell, well, except for me. But the place is bustling. The energy so contagious at one point I just want to haggle for the sake of not being out of place. Until someone shove a cuy in my face.
After a couple of hours in the Animal Market, the throngs of tourists arrived. The attention turned to them instead of the livestocks. That was my cue to go to the “actual” market in the center of town.
As the afternoon approaches, the whole scene starts to slow down. Stalls, one by one, dismantle their makeshift store tents.