Wednesday, December 12, 2012
While my mom was here (she left yesterday morning), Eric, her and I went down to Otavalo for the day. Otavalo is known for their handicraft markets, among other things. It is a great place to get Ecuadorian souvenirs and things like that. While we were there shopping, I decided not to break out my camera (even though I finally brought it along - my mom was sick of me writing about how sad I was that I didn't bring my camera....) because I knew that as soon as any vendor saw it, our prices would be higher. Who is going to sell things at a good price to someone who carries around a fancy camera. I wouldn't if I were them!
Well, on our way back to Quito we encountered a bike race. We had a bit of a hassle at the beginning as one police officer let us in after the lead cyclists - which he should not have done. Then we got hassled and forced to get out. We ended up following this bike race - up hill..... actually up mountain.... for I don't even know how long.
After a while, we finally got close to the riders. Why? Because they started letting traffic in with them! It was crazy! We couldn't believe that they didn't just section off a few feet on the side of the highway for the race and keep the riders there. No! The car traffic and cyclists were all intermingled: bikes passing cars, cars passing bikes....
Everyone was weaving in and out of lanes. Crazy. I was sure that some racer was going to get killed or seriously injured. It was absolute mayhem.
The one thing they did do to ensure "safety" was block off oncoming traffic. This was the result:
Traffic was backed up for ever. Once we saw that, we were ever so slightly less frustrated with the very slow pace at which we had to travel..... at least we got to move.
Ah.... only in Ecuador!