03.07.10 – Otavalo, World Cup

Woke up and got dressed by 7am so that I can go out to the market and come back to the hostal by 9am for the Argentina v Germany match.

The town is slowly coming to life with people neatly stacking and putting their wares on display. On Saturdays the market is bigger than Plaza de los Ponchos, with stalls spilling out on to the nearby streets, and not just handicrafts for tourists, but also food, fruits and vegetables, and other products for the locals, including the traditional footwear, and beautifully-embroidered white blouses and sashes for the indigenous ladies. Think of a big Pasar Pagi.

Bought what I wanted to buy. Was getting hungry because all I had was an apple on the way out. So many delicious-looking food at the stalls, but didn’t want to sit down and eat. Saw a lady walked by balancing a big platter of fried dough balls on her head. Bought a packet for US$0.25. Tastes like doughnuts and I believe it’s made of sweet potato or some starchy tuber.

While at the market, missed a goal by Germany who scored a goal 3 minutes into the game! Was debating whether to stoop at one of the market stalls to leech on the TV, but decided at least back at the hostal I get a couch and free wifi.

And what a good game it was. The Argentinians were trashed. An English bloke who was also watching the game in the hostal didn’t seem too happy (England was trashed earlier by Germany).

After the match, packed up, went out to walk a bit more. Too many people, especially tourists, out on Saturday. Went back to the same eatery for lunch and ordered the stew that I eyeballed a couple of days before, the encebollado de pescado, essentially a fish soup/stew, the aroma of which reminds me of Penang laksa/assam laksa, but with different ingredients. You have to enjoy red onions, cilantro, lime, fish, tomato, salt to enjoy this. And of course, the humble potato. Interestingly the soup comes with a side of unflavoured popcorn which serves well against the sharp, rich taste of the soup. If the soup had been scalding hot (it was warm, but not quite like the definition of warm in Chinese cuisine, which means boiling), it would have been a lot better. Yummy US$1.50 lunch. Again, was the only tourist in the eatery, which was also rather quiet as it was still early for lunch. An oasis from the hustle and bustle outside.

Bidded farewell to Otavalo as clearly there are too many people on Saturdays. I kinda missed having the entire town to myself (well, almost) just a couple of days ago. Caught a bus and returned to Quito.

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