We continued north to the little town of San Antonio de Ibarra, a woodworking village full of old shops selling incredible works of art. Instead of leather, wood carvings were everywhere! We looked at incredible pieces of art; touched, gazed, drooled. Our budget did NOT escape so easily from this one. In fact, we regret not getting more of these incredible crafts...so just may have to figure out how to get back. I did NOT get the carving pictured to the left, but loved him, so had to share as an example. He reminds me of an old homeless Scottish man I knew named Sam who sat on a park bench in Oxford, England every night, drunk as can be, proposing every time I saw him. I loved Sam as much as I hurt for him. This looks like the more redeemed Sam to me.
We purchased only a couple of pieces that we got directly from the craftsman who carved them. We love the experience of being able to buy directly from the people who sacrificed their time and talents to create the piece, especially in this world of retail. It was wonderful to meet him, see all of his work, and then honor him by selecting a couple of favorites, watch him lovingly dust them off and wrap them up for us, and to thank him for his time and effort. I want to go back.
We had to make it to Quito by night so we dragged ourselves away, quickly stopping in just ONE more small town to visit a cool waterfall. Not able to delay any longer we headed back through Otavalo, picked up our luggage from the hostal, and found the bus heading for Quito.
We had a great dinner with a wonderful view and even better company. Avoiding the dark stairs we headed back to the hostal in a taxi (necessary in Quito at night) for a few hours of sleep before Caryn's 4 a.m. transit to the airport and beyond! We were so thankful for Caryn's visit and for her fellowship over the past 10 days. She was a great blessing and encouragement to us. She said she'd had a good time but was looking forward to clean bathrooms, hot water, and fresh salads, all of which are hard to come by here! Fresh salad and veggies are available here, but not necessarily advisable! We were only a little jealous that she'd have all those things easily available to her the next day. We got over it, though, when we planned our next few days of exploring the beautiful central highlands of Ecuador!