Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bargain Hunters

I should first let you know that both the wife and I abhor shopping. Loathe it. It puts us to sleep. That's why places like Bangkok and Hong Kong (which all other Singaporeans seem to love) hold no particular fascination for us. So when the wife deliberately organised our schedule to include a weekend in Otavalo simply because of the weekend market, I was a little curious to see what the fuss was all about. But when we arrived at Otavalo, various people told us that it was actually better to visit the market during the weekdays. The market is smaller (roads surrounding the marketplace are closed on weekends, and the market expands by another 50%), and the variety is not as great, but on weekdays, vendors are more eager for business, and you therefore get more attention and better bargains. Just don't expect to see Kate, Louis, Chanel, Dolce and Banana (Republic) here though.

Adorable suspenders for tiny tots. One color for every day of the week and a spare!

The only riots in Otavalo are caused by colors

The hammock with legs cost extra, because it will walk to you when you're tired

Pinnochio will like his hammock very much because he is such a liar

Hard at work

I need to get home and put this pic as a wallpaper on my PS3

Hammocks and comfortable pants. Perfect accessories for the home theatre system

Our primary mission was actually to take pictures at the market, because we have grown to be such shutterbugs. But to make the market visit even more bearable, we reasoned to ourselves that we do need new clothes. The yellow-reversible-to-blue jacket I have been wearing since the beginning of the trip has begun to shrink after repeated washing and drying. (No jokes about me expanding instead, please. Heh. I hereby forestall you! Consider yourself forestalled!) And given that we will soon be going on some very cold treks up some very cold trails around some very cold mountains, I need another jacket. And the wife (who is not giving up her La Fuma jacket) has also decided that she needed another sweater, and a poncho. because she apparently likes Chos...

The wife insisted on having alpacas on her sweater because alpacas are a symbol of warmth

Which looks nicer? Brown?

Or grey? Which do you think she bought?

As we walked on to the middle of the market place, my eye was caught by some really funky hats. I guess there were court jesters even in ancient Ecuador, and the court jesters had to wear something like this to please their king. Just like I had to wear them to please my queen! Since the lady who was selling them was so nice to let us "fool" around with the hats, we cooked up a some justification for ourselves to buy something from her. The cloth bag that we bought had the image of a blue-footed booby. I know what you're thinking! But seriously, the blue-footed booby is a bird!

I could store a couple of hot dogs for the trek in the extra space!

This hat had two tails. That means four hot dogs!

Okay... really going all out for hot dogs now...

Maybe the hats were a booby trap to make us buy stuff!

We arrived at another section of the market that focused less on textiles and more on accessories. Here, you get earrings, necklaces, aromatherapy joss stick holders, wicked-looking knives disguised as a troll figurine, stuff like that.

I got beady-eyed looking at these

There is supposed to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I was a little reluctant to open the blue containers

Damned cute keychains. Costs only a bark!

As we were making it through to the other side of the market, I was drawn to a wood carving of a blue-footed booby. Being a boobs man, I knew that I just had to have a pair of them! Taking a deep breath, and remembering the dirty looks Roy gave me in Shanghai due to my lack of bargaining skills, we set off to spend almost ten minutes haggling with the shopowner for a pair. He tried really hard to sell us a family (small, medium and large boobies), then when that failed, tried selling us a pair of medium sized ones. I kept insisting that I only wanted a small pair, and he kept saying that he only had one small piece, not a pair, and had to sell me one small and one medium piece instead. To cut a long story short, we bargained for a pair of medium sized boobies (yes, yes, about B-cup), bringing the price from USD 44 down to USD 32. I think we did a good job, because the shopowner still looked dazed as we snapped off a shot of our triumph!

I am happiest when holding on to a pair of boobies

The Otavalo market was definitely one of the nicest markets we have ever been to. The cool weather and the civilised bargaining was a distant cry from the markets we suffer when in Bangkok. Despite that, shopping and bargaining is still a great energy-sapper for us, so after a quick stop for pie and a sack of nuts for the wife, we headed back to our hostel. After all, we did get some inspiration on what to do next from one of the stallowners at the market!



Tracy Su said...

Hehehe funny pictures! You guys are a hoot!

Geordie said...

Hi Dannie and Yilin. I've been reading your blog for the past 2 weeks. Never been to SA before but i'm very interested in travelling there. So I'll be following you both closely in your travels from here on.

Keep GOing! :)

Stephanie said...

wow! what a colourful post! love it.:)

Dannie said...

Tracy: It's the captions that are funny okay? Because I'm a funny person :p

Geordie: Thanks for dropping in! If you travel to SA before end of the year, let us know!

Stephanie: Yes, it's amazing how color adds vibrancy to a place, isn't it?

WeLoveRoy said...

I thought I never see the day that Dannie says he only wants a small pair of boobies...

Now all I need to see are flying pigs and life would be complete! :D

WeLoveRoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dannie said...

Roy: I've never been a greedy person. As long as they fill my palms can liao. You know what they say... a pair in hands lead to a bird in the bush... or something like that.

Anyway, saw the other one that you deleted. We'll keep an eye out for them again! :)

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