Monday, 15 February 2016

Wild seas and markets.

I had a lovely time at the beach. I flopped about a lot, and sometimes I went in the sea - I didn't actually swim, as it was impossible to get out beyond the breaking waves before one of them picked me up and tossed me about and landed me on the beach with sand in my pants. I suspect it would have been a red flag beach at home - but it was such fun!

And I couldn't miss the carnival - I've no idea what's being celebrated, but who cares! There's no dressing up here - quite the reverse. Because it's a time for throwing water and foam over each other, and smearing blue or green or red paint on people's faces. So it's a very messy affair (I managed to avoid the paint bit, but got caught in the crossfire of a squirty-foam fight!).

But it was time to move on - back into the mountains, and to Otavalo, which is where a huge market has been held on Saturdays since ... well, forever. Local people selling local crafts. It's noisy and crowded and wonderful. I'm not a natural shopper, but faced with a table looking like this, it was wonderfully tempting.

There were hammocks and bags and ponchos and blankets; hats and jewellery and pan pipes. There's a food section, with a sudden smell of cinnamon. Stalls piled high with mangoes and melons and avocados and custard apples. Broccoli and carrots and sacks of potatoes. Women in corners shelling peas. More women cooking, wiping their eyes from the smoke. I might not be a shopper but I do love markets. And yes, I've bought some stuff.

I've had a guide with me for three days. Poor man. He's not into markets. He had been told to look after me, and trailed behind me round the market with all the enthusiasm of a scolded dog. He carried bags for me, haggled for me when I couldn't keep track of the numbers (I'm fine up to about 15), but didn't manage a smile till we were back in the car.

And now - the Galapagos. I leave very early tomorrow morning. I'll have no phone or Internet for eight days! So if any of you are kind enough to comment, you'll have to wait for a reply. (I feel I ought to apologise, but I won't - because actually going to the Galapagos will be fab!)


  1. Jo, that market stall looks just too beautiful and tempting, and the rest of it sounds an absolute joy. I'm not into crowds but even I could have enjoyed a carnival like that, I think. Have a wonderful time in the Galapagos. I am sinfully jealous, and not you shouldn't apologise. Enjoy every second!!

  2. I want to be at that market too..what a lovely colourful pic! I believe the Galapagos has some rare and amazing animals! Please take pics....

  3. Poor guy, I'm normally like him when shopping but the market sounds like the exception to the rule and I may have managed a smile. As always you've added a new dimension to travel. Most are happy to feel the sand between their toes but you have to have it in your pants....what fun.

  4. Course you don't have to apologise. Please, promise to tell us all when yuo get back. The Galápagos are terrific, I hear. The fauna is incredible.

    Greetings from London.

  5. The colour son that stall are beautiful I would have to had bought something too.

  6. What a beautiful stall. I think I'd be tempted too, even though the idea of carrying around rugs etc. would probably put me off in the end!