We spent our last full day abroad visiting the cathedrals in Old Quito. This was a repeat for me from the last trip but I still found myself in awe of the overwhelming beauty of the churches. We were not permitted to take photos inside but if you visualize massive ceilings, religious artifacts all around, perfect symmetry, and every surface covered in gold leaf, you can get a pretty good idea of what our eyes captured.
In addition, Hannah, our friend Travis, and myself romped around Quito shopping. First stop: The Supermaxi.
What does one purchase at an Ecuadorian supermarket? Well, this country is known for the “3 C’s” : Chocolate, coffee, and cinnamon. These all made great souvenirs for relatives who enjoy cooking. Vanilla is another commodity they are known for. I also purchased a big jar of blackberry preserves (which Miami customs snatched), cocoa, hot sauce for my dad, and green tea.
While we were looking around, I noticed a few distinct differences in Ecuadorian vs American Markets:
1. They had an entire aisle dedicated to canned tuna.
2. Imported liquor was super expensive.
3. Water was CHEAP!
4. Mac and cheese was pretty pricy
Here’s Hannah and Travis being good little consumers. Aren’t they cute.
Next stop: Indian markets.
Coming from a self-proclaimed “shopaholic”, there is no other retail experience that quite compares to the excitement that lies within the privately owned booths in this market. Haggling, negotiating, arguing. It really is a cheap thrill. Since we are Americans, the initial price they give us is almost double what they will actually part with the item for. The key is to not give in, name your price (within reason) and if they do not accept, walk away. 9 times out of 10 they come running after you, accepting the offer. I went in knowing exactly what I was after: scarves. Last year I purchased about 7 scarves and ended up giving most of them away. This year, I came home with almost 20. They are high quality and each one is unique. Plus, at 3 for $5, you cannot find a deal that good in America.
Here is the “loot” I took home:
From Left: Galapagos textbook courtesy of Dr. Coffey, doll was part of admission ticket to a ballet we attended in Quito, parrot figurine and yellow tshirt were also gifts from Dr. C, hat purchased in the Galapagos ($15), food items, an angel figurine for my grandmother ($2), wooden recorder for my piano teacher ($2), Christmas ornament for my mother ($3.50), socks ($2.50), miniature turtle ($1), three Galapagos tshirts ($5/each), three thick scarves ($5/each), and 17 thinner scarves (less than $2 each).