Saturday, June 5, 2010

El Mercado Negro

Okay, it wasn’t really the black market, but that is the nickname for one traditional outdoor market area where you can bargain and compare prices much more easily than in the formal stores found in middle class neighborhoods like Sopocachi (where I am staying). Nora, the housekeeper from the apartment where I am staying took me and another new Save the Children employee’s wife, Amanda, to the market today to buy groceries for the house and some things Amanda needed for herself, her husband Doug, and their (adorable!) 17 month old daughter Sally.

So for once, this is more of a photo essay, rather than the long-winded prose to which I am usually so prone.

We started by buying fish. White fish and trout from Lake Titicaca.

Nora and I switched between Spanish and English, as we both need practice. She helped me learn a lot of new vocabulary for local fruits and vegetables that I’ve never seen before.

The fishmongerista (that’s my spanglish, not the actual word) cleaned the fish very deftly right there in front of us. Which I found surprisingly fascinating, but maybe I’m just drawn to gore.

We also bought shrimp. These come in from the Peruvian coast.

Foods that were new to me included a sweet fruit called chilimoya…

…and eggs from a small bird called cocornes.

Men kept stopping us to ask if we needed someone to help carry our things. We didn’t need the help, but here is one more nicely dressed gentleman taking advantage of the service.

Everything was there in bulk. From produce like potatoes to snacks to meat to soap!

We took a minibus up to another part of the market where we could find the things Amanda needed. These included cell phones for herself and her husband, as well as a high chair and portable crib for her daughter. The minibus will likely become a favorite transport of mine if they have them in Oruro (and they go where I need to go.) Each one has a conductor who yells out the route and crazily cheap price (one boliviano…1/7 of a dollar).

The altitude is still catching me short of breath or with a racing heart rate now and again, but it really isn’t too bad just now. I’m surprised to find I have an appetite and was able to make an lengthy physical excursion today. And of course, I’m staying hydrated, sometimes with the cheap bags of water you can buy and drink by tearing off a corner…ah, it’s good to be back in Latin America.

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