Markets and guinea pigs

Art in the park
Art in the park
Guinea pig anyone?
Guinea pig anyone?

I had originally planned to go to Salasaca on Saturday but, on talking to Angela (the Belgian/Italian lady), it appeared that the main market was on Sunday, so I had to think again. I lingered over breakfast with Angela and a young couple and their girls from Montreal. The others were all French speaking and I tried to converse but what came out of my mouth was such a jumble of French and Spanish, I had to revert to English. Why does this happen?!

After breakfast, it was still raining, so I dilly dallied around and decided to have a rest day. I still had to go and collect my laundry, so set off at lunchtime, when the sun had reappeared, and combined it with lunch at the market.

View from my lunchtime cafe table
View from my lunchtime cafe table
Inside the church
Inside the church

However, it was too crowded and then I espied the guinea pigs. Luckily, after I sat down, a contingent of Americans at the next table queried the price and I realised that it was going to cost me $20. Strangely enough, I decided that I didn’t really want to try it that much after all, so found an Ecuadorian cafe that served the ubiquitous chicken soup and a main for $2.75. Far more reasonable!

Afterwards, I strolled around, collected my laundry and visited the church and the bakery. The town was very busy and there seemed to be a number of girls entering the church, wearing some very fine dresses, so assume it must have been for a special ceremony.

Back at the house, I tried out the hammock chairs on the deck and read for most of the rest of the day.

Courtyard next to the church
Courtyard next to the church

On Sunday, Angela came with me to Salasaca. We were going to catch the bus but a rose growing Colombian couple, who were returning to Quito, offered us a ride, which we gladly accepted. It was pouring with rain again! As we drove up to the town, I suddenly realised that we were climbing higher and higher and started worrying about the altitude. Luckily, Angela had some aspirin as I definitely started feeling the effects once we had arrived. (Salasaca, I discovered later, is at the same altitude as Quito. Banos is only 1,600 metres and we had ascended quite rapidly, which is why I felt the effects.)

The market was a little disappointing as it was very small. Having read about it, I was expecting something much grander. If the guide books and websites were to be believed, we should also have been able to see ladies weaving in the streets. Alas, this was not the case, however, so the Lonely Planet is either out of date or wrong! Angela chatted to quite a number of people whilst I wandered around, guzzling water and trying not to think about nausea. We ended up sitting with Maria and Maria, who were shelling beans and selling a concoction of beans, potatoes and corn, which was surprisingly tasty and made me feel better.

Angela talking to Maria and Maria at Salasaca
Angela talking to Maria and Maria at Salasaca
Traditional dress in Salasaca
Traditional dress in Salasaca
Produce market in Banos
Produce market in Banos
An array of colourful fruit
An array of colourful fruit

There were a number of buses going back to Banos, Salasaca being on the main Ambato road, and we were taken back in a very airless bus (Ecuadorians do not like to open the windows) for the grand sum of 50 cents.

On arrival, we searched for the Sunday fruit and vegetable market, (different to the everyday covered market) which was well stocked with a variety of colourful produce. I bought an excess of mangoes, grenadillas and lychees, as well as an avocado, all of which, of course, cost next to nothing. I was set for the rest of the day, once we had stopped at the bakery, after which we made our way back to the Casa.

We hadn’t been back long and the heavens opened once again. I have been lucky, though, over the last few days, as the rain seems to have always held off whilst I have been walking.

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