Thursday, October 23, 2008

saying no can be really hard.

We did much better not getting lost today. Only two days and we're getting the hang of this town. Okay, so I'm getting the hang of the language and Geoff and Mark are figuring out the navigation. I happily follow them and don't even look at street signs. It means I will be lost when they leave, but they have to be good for something after all.

We took the bus to Otavalo market today which is about 2 1/2 hours NE of Quito. I was laughing at myself on the bus. Geoff was taking a nap and Mark was reading a book and they were totally happy and just chillin' on the bus. I had my head out the window like a love-sick puppy the whole time watching and listening and breathing in this new continent that I will call home at least for a while. I tried taking pictures but they wouldn't really work on the moving bus. I think Mark got some footage that was better. He definitely uploaded footage of the market.

The market was an interesting experience. Lots of stuff for sale, as one expects. The real big market day is Saturday so today was pretty mellow, which was kind of nice. It was fun to put my haggling skills back to use, it's been a long time. I probably could have done a better job, but the reality is that we can afford it and it makes a much bigger difference to them. They are so desperate and poor, they ask you "please, please just buy something" and they all plead with you and it's hard to say "no" over and over and over. It just feels so very personal each and every time. Many people are selling crafts that they themselves had made and so you are telling each person, "what you have done is not enough for me. It is not beautiful enough or interesting enough or useful enough. Even if it's only $2.00." Over and over and over. It gets really emotionally exhausting - I had forgotten that part.

I finally had to call a market break so we went and had lunch. Wandered into a cafe and sat down expecting menus, I guess, but instead the boy brought us a plate of popcorn each, then some soup, then a plate of chicken and rice and maize and salad *which we didn't eat* and glasses of tang which we also didn't drink and we laughed cause that is what is for sale in this restaurant, whether you want it or not. And then when the check came it was $3.75. For all three of us. I had him keep $5 cause it just seems like the right thing to do, even though tipping is not expected in this type of restaurant. I have been taught too well by those bartender and server friends for it to be anywhere in my makeup to just walk out of a restaurant or bar without leaving something. I also tip taxi drivers when I'm not supposed to here. But, seriously, how can you not?

So I have had and acidic stomachache all day and didn't sleep well last night so I'm headed off to bed early to try to get caught up on sleep and feeling better. Geoff and Mark are going to climb a mountain tomorrow but I just don't feel up to it so I am going to walk around old town and try to visit Amanda's dad and get some laundry done and just hang out, enjoying the day. I will climb that mountain another day. Also what I want to get done tomorrow is to get my pictures off my camera and so I will be able to start uploading some.

I did have a scare with the camera today as I suddenly couldn't find it and thought maybe someone had gotten it out of my bag even though I was being super careful. Sick sick sicker to my stomach. Luckily I had set it on the counter at the farmacia when we stopped for antacid and they were nice enough to give it back to me. One of the things I bought in the market was a good little bag to put my camera in so I can have it out of my main bag but not living in my hand.
So there is today in Ecuador. Tomorrow I will upload some photos.

Love to each of you.

1 comment:

  1. MJ! In Ecuador! I didn't get to see you again before you left but that's no matter. I read your entire blog for the first time. Inspirational and beautiful. I am glad you are there and doing it (active verb DO!). I look forward to reading more of your adventures and seeing your pictures, etc. A narrative adventure starring my friend, Maryjane! Miss you!