He Sings the Songs

I’m never going to get this damn song out of my head. This happens every time I see this sign. I read the word, giggle like a kid reading the word ‘fart’, and immediately start humming and mumbling the half-remembered words to that iconic but oh so cheesy disco classic.

Photo of tourist sign in Otavalo, EcuadorWe’re standing on the corner of Simon Bolívar park. It’s our third day in Otavalo and we still haven’t found the farmers market. This shouldn’t be a difficult task. Otavalo has two outdoor markets; one for artisan trade crafts and one for fruits and vegetables. Both are world famous. Finding the artisan market was easy. It’s at the end of the main drag right in the thick of things. We’ve discounted the Mercado Copacabana because of its location and because Google has it listed as a shopping mall. We thought Mercado 24 de Mayo would be the place. There are signs pointing to it and Google shows it as a large open plaza similar to Plaza de Ponchos but what we found was a large plaza, fenced in and full of tilled earth. Maybe they’re  going to plant a market?

Sasha is clearly frustrated. Her Force isn’t working properly and we’re both feeling like we’re walking in circles and missing what’s right in front of us. Of course this isn’t bothering me as much as it’s bothering Sasha because I have cheesy disco playing in my head. 

Grooving to my internal soundtrack, inspiration hits me like a gold record. Tugging at Sasha’s sleeve, I lead us to the left, in the direction the sign is pointing. “Come on”, I say, “I have a hunch”. 

Walking away from the center of town I confess to Sasha, “I don’t know why but I always associate the song Copacabana with the Chiquita Banana lady”. I’m met with a blank stare that clearly says ‘Is that supposed to mean something to me?’. “Yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down there”, I sing, delighting at my own dorkiness. 

Photo of Mercado Copacabana, Otavalo, Ecuador

Mercado Copacabana

As I’m making a fool of myself, the street opens up into a wide plaza that is over saturated with a rainbow of colors from every type of produce you can imagine and many that I can’t. We have found the market. Thank you, Barry Manilow!

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