Retail Healing in Quito's Markets
You may think local markets are merely a place to pick up a bunch of apples, bananas or, if you’re feeling exotic, a mango. Not in Quito. Alongside the kaleidoscope of fruit and veg, the city’s oldest market holds special healing powers too. Deep in the old town, close to San Francisco Plaza, an 1893-born market houses a line of stalls offering ancestral medicines. Dip underneath the overhanging snake-like plant stems, strip down to your waist and receive a ‘therapeutic’ beating with weeds, roses and eventually an egg. Former mayors and pop stars have used the healing powers of these women who charge a nominal fee for their services. Some of the doctors are wary of tourists, especially those snapping photos as if they were outside the Roman Coliseum, so be sensitive. It's sometimes easier to go via an organized tour.
By Simon Willis, AFAR Local Expert
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