As mentioned earlier, I just got back a few weeks ago from a trip to the Galapagos Islands with stops in Quito and Otavalo, Ecuador en route. Otavalo is a town of about 90,000,  seventy miles north of Quito. With an elevation or 8,500 feet, one could safely consider it to be in the mountains.

We arrived in Otavalo early evening on Thursday, had dinner and went to bed. On Friday, we hired a small van with driver and visited a few notable local weavers. In the afternoon, we visited a local town that specialized in leather goods. It was an interesting day. Not activities I might have chosen, but it’s not always about me.

Saturday is market day. We started the day by visiting the animal market. I won’t try to describe it other than saying there are no USDA inspectors involved. Use your imagination. Ya, it was like that. Not quite enough to make me a vegetarian and it won’t as long as I visit only every ten years.

When we were done there, it was back to town for “the market”. The market engulfs the square downtown and sends tentacles down several side and main streets. Much of the merchandise looked like much of the other merchandise. To me. Woven art, purses, carved figures, some paintings. Stuff I am not looking to buy. My wife took her two friends on the grand tour. The other couple went their own way looking for a wooden flute (him) and at all the woven art (her). Once again I was left to entertain myself.

I started walking in search of an antiques shop or a furniture store and found neither. I did find one small shop about the size of a supply closet and not as well-lit. It was packed with locals that look surprised and vaguely annoyed to see me there. But they were very polite. Discretion being the better part of tourism, I left. And kept walking.

What I did notice was the doors. There were lots of different doors. Interesting doors. It is a city with all blocks solidly packed with buildings. Or one big building. I couldn’t always tell where one ended and the next began. Retail on the first level and offices and residential on the upper floors. There mustn’t be a strong zoning office in that there didn’t seem to be a uniform color palate.

Where is the downtown merchants association when you need it.

Where is the downtown merchants association when you need it?

Another thing I noticed was ready availability of funerary supplies. I must have seem six funeral supply stores.

Not something I needed on this trip. Good to know it's there though.

Not something I needed on this trip. Good to know it’s there though.

And I found their dollar store. Ecuador use the US dollar as currency. Their have some of their own coins but use US paper money. So, a dollar store really is a dollar store.

More interesting that Family Dollar or Dollar Tree.

More interesting that Family Dollar or Dollar Tree.

While walking, I learned you can make a ladder with bamboo poles, a saw, a chisel,  some hardwood scraps and a bit of wire.

No safety labels or posted weight limit.

No safety labels or posted weight limit.

Did I mention there were doors?

A church door.

A church door.

Lots of doors.

Not a church door.

Not a church door.

Click HERE to see the entire set of my walkabout pictures. It is worth a look.

Have I ever lied to you…