Awakening the senses: Otavalo in its full glory Recommended read

It always appears like you’re above the clouds in Ecuador, walking or driving through the mist. If you’re lucky enough to have a clear night sky you can see the stars and constellations in abundance. The colours on the Otavalo market stand out like a kaleidoscope against the background of unfinished concrete blocks and stunning mountain scenery.

The traditionally dressed indigenous men with their blue ponchos and white trousers, the women wearing their finery and lace blouses, young girls wailing through the streets, breast feeding their children, others with the bundles on their backs with the unmistakable, two dangling feet protruding as evidence there is in fact a child inside. The Ecuadorian culture is unique.

The elderly ladies and gentlemen, so tiny, laden with heavy loads on their backs, toiling to make their living.

The bumpy roads, the tooting of horns. Does anyone know what they do it for? Perhaps it’s just to say “I’m coming, ready or not, so just get out of my way!” The loud music on the buses, in cars, shops and the cafes. Such a great mix of Latino and western music you can’t help but love it……. And start to feel the rhythm.

The sights and smells of the food market inside and out. All the colours of the exotic fruit and vegetables in abundance. Tiny figures crouched on the pavements, painstakingly shelling the beans in readiness of a sale.

The fresh juice and gelatine stalls, lined up with all the colours of the rainbow to tempt the passers-by.

The smell of the freshly roasted pig and its golden, crispy carcass with a toothy, macabre grin protruding from the counter. The smell of humitas, choclos, empanadas, tortillas de papas and cerdo cooking on the street stalls. The cries of the street vendors selling espumito moracho and the daily newspaper.

Last but not least, the dogs barking in unison during the night as people pass through the neighbourhood. Holding my breath as they chase cars and buses hoping they won’t end up underneath the wheels. They are so cute and cuddly and their presence will stay with me through out my travels.

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