By Kartika Putra
With the fresh whip of wind running through our hair, the morning ride into town was a big wake up call to our sleepy slumber. Riding along the back of the ute, green patchy mountain would line the winding roads and often enough, you’ll be able to see the local farmers peak out for the first of many daily chores.
We were in Ecuador’s highlands, a place where mountains filled the skyline and where magical fairytale landscapes were inspired by. Zumbahua markets was known for its spectacular backdrop as well as the range of animals that were marketed throughout the day. All the locals were dressed in their finest, traditional pleated skirts were worn by the females with colourful shoals draped over their shoulders.
Jessie and I were the few travellers that had ventured out to this market and even though our appearance was as bizarre to them as the pig that was snorting at us, the snowcapped mountain of Cotopaxi just made the experience feel like a a journey into a surreal children’s picture book.
Always one to try the local cuisine, we couldn’t get enough the deep fried banana, fried directly in front of you while you wait! and to counteract all that grease that you had consumed, the blender man was just around the corner. He stood amongst the crowd whipping up smoothies of your liking. All the super foods that you’ve heard about? he had it. Maca powder, chia seeds, acai berries and even some unknown mystery liquids that he would swear by.
A total immersion into local activities, the Zumbahua markets gave us a piece of their busy lives and a way to understand the social activities amongst neighbouring farmers.