Silvia suggested I go check out el mercado Abastos today. Jill and Ann (the older woman from Palo Alto who's also going to the same school) agreed with Silvia that I should go on a Saturday. I found it out on the map, but it seemed a bit inaccurate. The gray rectangle marked as the mercado took up three or four square blocks' worth of space. But Ann said no, it was bigger than the map said. Impossible, I thought. Hyperbole.
So off I went to the mercado. Along the way I stopped at a clothing store that had prom-style dresses for US$50 and $60, but the ones I liked didn't fit right. (Mom, how much did you pay for the Squirt's cheap dresses?) And then I got to the mercado.
Oh. My. God. When Ann said that another computer science kid she knew had commented, "I'd never understood the idea of infinity until now," well, damn. I thought — foolish, foolish me — that I'd go up and down each little "street" like at a convention or like how I did at el mercado 20 de noviembre. Heh. Heh.
So here I am, walking down the first row. Tons of little stalls all along it. When I get to the first intersection, I see the vastness that is el mercado Abastos. No, actually I don't: I see as far as I can of el mercado Abastos. I can't see any exit out into the street, not even back the way I came in. Thankfully it's shaded, so the hot day isn't as horrible as it could be.
I keep walking down the street, thinking that the end of the mercado must be just one more intersection down. Finally, finally, I see what looks like a dead end. I figure there must be a side exit near there. Heh. No. It's just a bend in the street, and the stalls continue onward.
The covering overhead changes from real roof to canvas, which is warmer underneath. When I did eventually make it out into the heat of the day outside, I was nearly ready to just go home right then. And that was just the first street of the mercado. Imagine that, squared.
They sell every sort of thing in the mercado Abastos. Clothing (traditional and modern), shoes, cellphones, jewelry, baskets, bags, makeup, prepared food, raw food (fruit, veggies, mariscos, chapulines (a Oaxaqueña delicacy: fried grasshoppers), herbs, spices, beans, chiles), shoes, pottery, rugs, crafts, craft supplies... I only made it around the perimeter before my brain went on strike and demanded I escape from the sensory overload.
I ended up with a couple mugs, some craft supplies, and a pretty Peacock rug. For US$21. If only it had been mostly Christmas shopping. I think I have to return to get stuff for everyone else. *whimper* Either the stairs will kill me, or the mercados will cause a nervous breakdown.