In this post I had written about the famous Saturday market in Otavalo where you can buy all sorts of goodies. Otavalo is a town that is about 2 hours away from Quito and there are buses that can easily take you there so usually a lot of people from Quito leave in the morning and return in the evening.
If you are in Quito and are not up to traveling for 2 hour to check out the market in Otavalo on Saturday, worry not because there is Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal which is equally good if not better in my opinion. I actually came across this gem by chance as I was taking a walk with a friend and since then, I have been a frequent visitor. what can I say, I never seem to be able to resist bright colored goodies that are so abundant in this country. From leather purses, wallets, trinkets, shoes, clothes, panama hats you can find all sorts of souvenirs here and at reasonable prices if you know how to bargain.
The market is open every day, Monday through Sunday and I believe they close at 7:00 pm. It is very well organized with each stall having a different number so if you are looking to return to a particular vendor, it is easy to trace them by their stall number. Price wise I don't think there is a big difference with the one in Otavalo because I have seen some things cheaper in this market or more expensive but there is always room to bargain and lower the original price.
Would you look at all the vibrant colors! if I wasn't still traveling to other places and needed to stick to a budget I would do a lot of damage here..........financial that is.
After all the shopping or window shopping, there is a central place with benches where you can sit down and relax while watching the going ons around. During world cup a lot of people used to gather here to watch the various matches.
That's it folks, I think Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal is a good alternative to Otavalo and in my opinion, it's actually better than the Otavalo market. Sometimes I come here just to walk around and check out some of the beautiful stuff that's on sale, this is definitely a place I would recommend for souvenirs to friends or family.
Random Thoughts Of The Day:
I just love my weekend trips outside Quito, at this point I think I should start a weekly quiz entitled "where is J going this weekend."
Today my roommate was asking me if I have ever experienced racism in South America. To be honest so far I have not had an awful experience related to my race but I have noticed that whenever I visit certain stores or restaurants, I have received "the look." It's the "what are you doing here, can you afford to be here" look. I notice the stares which at times can be a bit unnerving but once I open my mouth to speak and people realize I am a foreigner, the 360 degree change I notice is incredible! all over a sudden everyone is super friendly and helpful which makes me wonder, would they treat me this way if I was a local and not a foreigner? what must the regular black person who is a citizen of the country experience frequently?
My roommate on the other hand who is white, was telling me that his case is the opposite because as soon as people see him all they see is money and he has been in a lot of situations where people have taken advantage of him financially. For example, whenever he goes out he is always expected to foot the bill or wherever he goes, prices are usually jacked up tremendously. I suppose we each have certain disadvantages for being foreign.
Speaking of race I have learned a lot from my afro Latina friends about their experiences with race in their respective countries. A couple of my female friends in Ecuador have told me about this mentality that some ignorant people still have which is, "black women are for sex but white women are for marriage." Isn't it a coincidence that these women who don't know each other would say the same exact thing? and not only them but I have heard about this stupid mentality from my Colombian friends as well and I also read about it in a Brazilian blog that highlights racial issues in Brazil. Of course in each society there are bad and good apples so I don't want to generalize but it's sad to imagine that certain people would actually think this way.
On a positive note I have met some awesome people who have truly embraced me and made me feel really comfortable so I do appreciate these good apples within society and I would like to think there are more good apples than bad ones, you always have to have certain faith about people.
I swear some people's dad's and grand dad's can be really sleazy! from cat calls to kissy or sucking sounds, to blatantly eye balling my boobs and I don't even wear tight tops because I hate attracting certain attention, I have experienced them all and they usually come from older men. I usually just keep it moving and don't pay attention. As long as they don't get physical with me it's easy to ignore them and continue with what I am doing but I certainly wouldn't want to be caught in a dark alley with some of these characters.