Saturday, December 10, 2005

El Mercado Abastos

Cosera de una Nochebuena

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.


Shelley: the Dread Pirate Rodgers said...

"(Mom, how much did you pay for the Squirt's cheap dresses?)"

at St. Vincent de Paul .. $10 and $15. You really can NOT beat that if the item fits and you like it. :-)

"If only it had been mostly Christmas shopping. I think I have to return to get stuff for everyone else. *whimper*"

Remember, hija, you can SHIP the previously purchased stuff home ya know? As in either to here in WC or to SLO. So .. if you absolutely, positively NEED to return to the vastness of el mercado Abastos to get us proper Christmas presents, you really shouldn't feel dismayed. ;-) That way you'll have space for the Christmas presents in your carry-on duffel. :-)

Just trying to help with solutions. :-)

Shelley: the Dread Pirate Rodgers said...

Oh .. and are you TAKING PICTURES???


Lisa R said...

"They sell every sort of thing in the mercado Abastos... chapulines (a Oaxaqueña delicacy: fried grasshoppers)..."

I hear Uncle Dave likes deep-fried Thai grasshoppers. Grab one of those chapulines for him! ;)

Arthaey Angosii said...

WRT shipping: I hear that shipping is fairly expensive here. I'm just going to put all the breakables in my carry-on and check the bag with my clothes. Hopefully my clothes won't go to the Bahamas without me. ;)

Also, my reluctance about returning to el mercado Abastos is not because of the volume of my perchases. It's the scariness of the market's size.

WRT photos: yeah, I took a few of Abastos, but a lot of the vendors don't want you to take pictures unless you buy something.

WRT chapulines: Oo, good idea. Dunno if they'll let me import them, or if they keep, but it's a good idea. :)