Pic du Jour: Corn Vendor, Central Market, Otavalo, Ecuador
Today’s daily travel pic features a young girl who was selling corn in the “food court” of the central market in Otavalo, Ecuador, a city that’s home to the largest indigenous market in South America. I liked how the late afternoon shadows accentuate her friendly and sincere smile, lending the portrait a casual air of harmony.
The best part about market day in Otavalo isn’t so much the bottomless piles of colorful merchandise on offer. Chances are good that you’ve seen much of it elsewhere, quite likely in your hometown, maybe even being sold by Otavaleños themselves, albeit at a much steeper price.
Holding most appeal is the never-ending dialogue between past and present that can be seen and felt, if not necessarily heard, around every corner and down every aisle of the sprawling collection of stalls on Plaza de los Ponchos –ground zero for the shopping masses that visit on Saturdays– and those that spill over onto several blocks of a number of adjacent streets to consume nearly a third of the town’s center.
The incessant chatter of commerce has been the cornerstone of Otavalo, a town of some 90,000 about a two-hour bus ride from Quito, and Otavaleño life for hundreds of years, pre-dating the Spanish conquest, pre-dating even the Incan invasion, when the value and quality of the locally-produced textiles was already firmly established.