Bellowing and Squealing Amid Bargaining-Animal Market Day Otavalo

I arose at what I thought was an early hour,6:15, and caught what I thought was an early bus, 7:15.  By the time I arrived at the animal market around 8:00 there already truckloads of animals leaving.  The real action here starts around 6:00 in the morning but believe me even at 8:00 there was plenty to see.

Market day is not for the solid animal rights advocate.  It's an old time farmers market.  There are people tugging squealing pigs and and yanking on reluctant cows.  People grab chickens by the legs and turn them upside down to shove into gunny sacks.   Guinea Pigs or Cuy as they are called are grabbed by the neck to be shown to prospective customers.  There are crowing roosters staked to the ground ready for sale and together with gaggles of ducks, geese and even a turkey surrounded by temporary fences.  Animals are everywhere so are the people.

This is an action packed 4 hours from around 6:00 until  around 10:00.  By then many people have bought animals and have started clearing out the unsold stock.  There is obviously some bargaining but the several people I talked to all gave me approximately the same going prices for the animals which actually makes sense.

As the animal action slows down, the food action heats up.  There were a number of food stalls making typical Ecuadorean food such as llapingachos, empanadas de viento and of course cooked pulled pork coming directly out of a whole roasted pig.  In addition every booth seemed to be cooking some type of warm stew using a variety of meats the most common of which was tripe.  I passed. Thus ended my day at the animal market although it was only the start of what was a long day of walking through one of the largest craft markets in all of South America.



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