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Posts Tagged ‘vendors’

After three weeks in el norte, all my bags are packed and I’m ready to return to Oaxaca.  While malls and supermarkets abound here in the San Francisco Bay Area, shopping doesn’t hold a candle to experiencing the Sunday market in Tlacolula de Matamoros.

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Sidewalk murals greet shoppers on their way to the mercado.

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Wearing traditional skirts, blouses, rebozos, and aprons, vendors compete for customers.

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Stopping inside the mercado for barbacoa de chivo is a delicious way to take a break.

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The apron selection, like everything else, is mind boggling!

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Lastly, another sidewalk mural to send shoppers on their way home.

There is nothing like the life and color of shopping in Oaxaca.  ¡Hasta pronto!

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“What do you do all day?”  It’s a question I’ve been asked countless times since I began my retired life down Oaxaca way and I’m not alone.  Most expats here have heard those words — a query that hints at the notion that there couldn’t possibly enough to fill the day in a place where one isn’t fluent in the language, isn’t surrounded by family and old friends, and doesn’t have a job.  A large part of the answer is, doing most everything takes longer.  And that is not a bad thing!  Perhaps, a photo diary of this morning’s grocery shopping excursion might provide an illustration.

After morning coffee and breakfast, catching up on email and the news, washing dishes, showering and dressing, I grabbed a couple of shopping bags and headed out at 10 AM.  The initial plan had been to walk up to Niños Heroes (the Pan American highway) to photograph some new murals, cross the highway to the Organic Market, and then return home by way of Sánchez Pascuas mercado where I could get chicken, quesillo, and anything else that remained on my shopping list or struck my fancy.  However, for almost an hour, I’d been hearing Guelaguetza music coming from the Plaza de la Danza.  I decided a detour was in order and found kindergartners performing Oaxaca’s traditional folkloric dances, including this one  where couples take turns “dissing” each other in a rhythmic double-entendre laden dialogue.  It always gets laughs — wish I could understand the jokes!  Needless to say, I hung out watching the kids for awhile.

P1080705I finally tore myself away and resumed my original itinerary.  Some of the murals were east of the Pochimilco Organic Market so I decided to start at the end and work my way back — a route which took me up the Macedonio Alcalá where I saw a sidewalk vignette of hats and scarves lined up in front of Santo Domingo.  There was also a small marmota (cloth globe on a pole) laying on its side, so I’m guessing there was to be a calenda (parade) of some sort.

P1080715After stopping to take a few photos (how could I resist the juxtaposition with the Peña Nieto graffiti?) I found myself behind these vendors taking their merchandise up to Llano Park for its Friday market.

P1080717Deciding to speed up my slow progress on the errands I’d set forth for the morning, I passed the gals only to stop to watch Oaxaca’s version of the dog whisperer working with four Xoloitzcuintlis (Mexican Hairless Dogs).

P1080722 (1)Eventually continuing north, I arrived at Niños Heroes and the murals and street art I’d come to find and photograph.  They deserve their own blog post, so I will save those photos for another day.  However, I also ran across this wonderful wall!  P1080752Crossing the highway, I found the newly built and landscaped stairs (almost didn’t recognize them) leading up to Xochimilco and the Pochimilco Organic Market.  I wandered and lingered and tasted — including a few of these mezcals, as I’ve got a US trip coming up and a stepson who probably won’t speak to me if I don’t bring him a couple of bottles.

P1080755Popping some gum in my mouth (didn’t want my breath to smell like I’m a lush), I headed south on Tinoco y Palacios to catch a couple of new murals I’d had fleeting glimpses of when returning from last Sunday’s trip to Tlacolula.  This one had particularly caught my eye.

P1080788By the time I arrived at Sánchez Pascuas, it was after 12 noon.  I found my poultry guy, paid a visit to the cheese vendor, picked up some veggies from my favorite produce gal, and, on the way out, bought some homemade salsa verde.  Yummm…  As I descended the three stairs down to the sidewalk, I turned around to admire the beautiful color of the flamboyant and jacaranda trees and the tranquility of this setting in the middle of the state’s bustling capital city.

P1080815It was close to 1 PM when I unlocked the door to my apartment.  If I were in California, I would have jumped in the car, driven down to the local Friday organic market (with not a drop of mezcal in sight), browsed a bit, spent way too much money, climbed back in the car to finish shopping at Safeway, before returning to the house, probably by 11 AM.

Here in Oaxaca, I’d been gone almost three hours, walked close to fifty (often hilly) blocks, and seen some wonderful, creative, and life affirming sights.  And, that doesn’t even include the scattering of conversations with my neighbors and Luís and Luci, who work here.  Just another Friday.  Not a bad way to live one’s life!

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The XII World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities has ended, its delegates have departed, and the ambulantes, Oaxaca’s heart and soul, have returned.

A joy to behold and the basil the gal in the upper right photo was selling smelled divine!

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I’m back up in el norte for a brief “taking care of business” trip.   And, sheesh, it’s SO quiet on this western front.  No fireworks.  No clanging chains of the propane tank vendor.  No bands playing in the streets.  No loudspeakers.  And, no shrill sound of the steam whistle heralding the arrival of the camote man.

Camote vendorEvery evening, he wheels his cart through the streets of Oaxaca selling sweet potatoes and plantains sweetened with sugar and drizzled with condensed milk.  They are cooked in a pressure-cooker-like contraption that is heated by a small wood fire in the metal drum below.  The iconic sound comes from the hot steam being released from the cooker.

If you have a sweet tooth, follow the whistle for a yummy dessert treat!

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After 6+ months of being Under construction,

today, the waiting is over!

This morning, Oaxaca’s governor, the city’s mayor, and the head of the Ministry of Tourism and Economic Development opened the newly constructed entrance on Independencia…

and welcomed vendors and shoppers to the newly renovated Mercado IV Centenario.

New stalls, with improved electrical and sanitation systems are part of this renovation project.

Vendors, including one of my favorite vegetable sellers, began moving their goods from the temporary site in Jardín Morelos to their new stalls.

After only a few hours, my vendedora de frutas already looked happily ensconced in her new digs!

There are still a few stalls waiting to be filled…

Any takers???

 

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El Grito de la Independencia is coming!  Vendors of everything green, white, and red have set up their carts on Oaxaca’s busiest street corners and Mexican flags are flying everywhere.

A little slice from yesterday’s grocery shopping trip around town…

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Definitely more to come!

 

 

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¡Un milagro!

It’s a Saturday miracle; my favorite vendor is back!!!

She and her little crate-and-basket stand, usually positioned at the foot of the two stairs outside Pan y Co on García Vigil, have been missing in action for the past two weeks and I was worried.  I kept asking the clerks at Pan y Co if they knew what had happened to her, but they merely shrugged.  However, today there she was…

Vendor and her stand.

I came away with sliced mango, papaya, jicama, a bag of roasted peanuts with dried chiles, and, best of all, kisses and hugs!!!

(ps)  Apparently, she has been sick, but she assured me that she is okay now.

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