Otavalo, Ecuador

The Central valley of Ecuador is often called the "Avenue of Volcanoes."

We get off our bicycles to climb 19,342-foot Cotopaxi volcano, bicycle to Laguna Quilotoa crater, and also bicycle over Pinchachua volcano.

As we bicycle into the northern part of the Avenue of Volcanoes, north of the capital of Quito, we pedal toward the small town of Otavalo.

Otavalo has two markets each week, filled with weavings, clothing and arts and crafts.

We love going to the markets, not just to see all the wonderful handcrafts for sale, but also to meet people.

Tass traveled through this area in 1976 with her friend Suzanne, and is now very excited to be back and spend more time photographing the women from the area.

Tass often sits for long periods of time, chatting and laughing with the women to put tham at ease as she make photographs.

This woman's necklace is mostly made of glass beads. You can also see a few strands of pink coral from the ocean around her neck. Her earrings are pearls. Her center tooth is outlined in gold.

The Inca considered gold in the teeth to be a sign of beauty, and the Indians today retain that tradition. The Inca would also sometimes place semi-precious stones in their teeth.

This woman's bracelets are each one big string of coral beads, about six feet long, which are wrapped around and around her wrists.

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