Friday, May 6, 2016

Antigua, Guatemala: Inside the Municipal Market

Antigua's municipal market. April 2016.

Shortly after I arrived in Antigua, my multi-talented hostess (speaks 3+ languages, has a piercing sense of irreverent humor, is gracious, a determined survivor/thriver of what life throws at some of us, with a fascinating professional background) gave me a quick verbal list of various local places to get groceries.

First, a visit to the supermarket

La Bodegona was the supermarket that was closest to my home-school-home walking route, so I checked into that first.

Ohhhh. First impressions. I'm afraid it was so depressing. Poor lighting, the kind that you think about in an old-timey hardware store that has dusty shelves, creaky floors, and dark corners with stock items that have surely been there for decades, gathering an oily layer of residue from the particulate-filled air. OK, maybe I'm dramatizing a bit. But still, depressing. Produce looked tired. Limited selections of things. Seemed expensive.

I put some stuff in my basket, and then, incredibly, after walking around some more, put them back. I don't think I bought anything.

Antigua's municipal market. April 2016.

The municipal market

The same day, or maybe the day after, I went through a wide doorway of a building that was adjacent to an outdoor stall market, whose vendors sold ubiquitous Guatemalan souvenirs, rather expensive fruits and vegetables, plebian plastic ware and other humble housewares for buyers who live in Antigua.

Inside the building .... oh, this was the hidden magic kingdom of produce, cafes, seafood, breads, cheeses, grains, sausages, spices, herbs, flowers, and also the household stuff, along with clothing, music, et al.

Antigua's municipal market. Dried fish. April 2016.

It is like such markets the world over, which I've met in city-center markets in the USA, Caucasus Georgia, Ethiopia, Mexico, Dubai, and Istanbul.

Although actual "market days" fall on Monday, Thursdays, and Saturdays, the market is open every day. I'd say til 5 or 6 or so. I could get most of my stuff on any day, then, it's just that the vendor population, along with produce choices, swelled on the three market days. (But that bread I loved - likely only available on the market days when more vendors came in from the country.)

Antigua's municipal market. Chorizos. April 2016.

Some sights and sounds of the municipal market on a Saturday afternoon, part 1:

Mmmm, look at those carrots at 0:32!

Some dried fish, tortillas, spices and more in part 2:

I went to the municipal market a couple of times a week to stock up on vegetables, fruits, and cheese.

Antigua's municipal market. Shrimp. April 2016.

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