One of the highlights of the
summer was a trip to Ecuador's Saquisili Market, one of the most
economically important and authentic markets in Ecuador.
This market certainly isn't oriented to tourists; the atmosphere here is
strictly business, and almost everything for sale serves some
utilitarian purpose, from cratefuls of chickens to homemade shotguns,
shoes, and leeks. It was a fantastic glimpse into life in rural
Luckily, very few tourists
know about this market. In fact, I only found out about it by
stumbling upon the following description in one of my tour books.
(The market was pretty much ignored in the other guide books!)
"Racks of tools,
mountains of brightly colored yarn, and other vendors line the city
streets. The entire city, in effect, becomes one big market.
Although most of the major buying and selling takes place in one of
eight plazas, every street seems to have its own particular
offering--some of which earn a double take. On one, find car
radios dangling wires; head down a block and over for the fried pig
heads. Chickens and roosters appear on one street, rabbits and
guinea pigs on another.
The real treat, though,
waits about a kilometer out of town. Follow the pig squeals down a
dusty lane to the animal market, where creatures of every description
are bought, sold and bartered. This market is also divided into
sections. Placid, dread-locked llamas cluster with could-fleeced
alpacas near the entrance, while cows, sheep and horses congregate
toward the back. Some women resemble strange parodies of New York
City dog walkers, with dozens of piglets on strings milling around their
ankles. Occasionally someone screams, but no one turns to
look--it's just a huge hog being loaded into the back of a truck by a
group of sweating, swearing farmers. Aside from the few tourists
with cameras, this scene in the blowing dust and harsh equatorial sun
seems plucked out of time." (Ecuador Handbook 1998).
The following are some of
the photos of my experience there.