As the weather in Ecuador continued to spoil our trekking and climbing plans we shifted course and focused on humans. There is a small town about an hour away from Riobamba, it is called Guamote. It is not a puebla that is commonly found on the itinerary of travelers. That is exactly why we wanted to go. We wanted to see a market that still functions just for locals, without the distraction of the kitschy pandering that mass tourism brings.
Indigenous traders flock to Guamote every thursday to sell their wares and barter with each other. Many large buyers come from Riobamba with trucks to take advantage of bulk pricing and fresh produce that they can resale in the ‘big city’. It is a lively atmosphere full of activity. Even still the indigenous people are quite camera shy and taking pictures in a respectful manner can be very difficult – but well worth the effort. If ever there were ‘salt of the earth people’ it is these extremely hard working farmers, herders, weavers, and food vendors, capturing their smiles and way of life (not very well admittedly) was immensely fulfilling.
We stayed for two days and didn’t see a single other foreigner during that time – it was glorious, and it was real.