A Travellerspoint blog

In a Mexican Market

sunny 34 °C

As far as the world’s markets go, Merida can’t hold a candle to the 8,000 stalls of Bangkok’s Chatuchak, Cairo’s ancient Khan el-Khalili Souk, or the dangerously cluttered lanes of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. But Merida’s tightly packed, bustling, market halls are certainly worth a visit. The somewhat sterile Sunday market in Merida’s central square, with its entertainers and inflated prices, is just a show put on for the tourists in comparison to the real business of trading that goes on in the Lucas de Galvez market. Here, in a labyrinth of dimly lit stalls, an eclectic mix of costermongers, butchers, bakers, florists, fishmongers, hatters, tinkers and cobblers, spend their lives serving the community while scratching a living. We don’t envy marketeers. Most work seven days a week in hot, cramped, smelly conditions, although there is clearly a camaraderie that enables them to remain sane and be ready with a smile for every customer - but this old fruit lady had clearly had enough…
And this florist was catching up on the day's news...
By Asian standards, Merida’s market halls are palatial and pleasantly scented with fragrances of fresh fruit and flowers. These pineapples are truly enormous…
While these golf ball sized radishes would make a bouquet of roses for a banquet…
But it is the peppers that take pride of place here…
No Mexican meal, or market, would be complete without chillis – capsicums of every variety and colour: red, green, orange, yellow and variegated bell peppers along with jalapenos, poblanos and even scotch bonnets. But fresh peppers are just the tip of the iceberg, ( a very hot iceberg), in Mexico. They are such an essential ingredient in almost every dish that they are sold dried, pickled, smoked and powdered and, of course, in the form of fearsomely hot sauces like Tabasco. The Yucatan is the world’s largest producer of habanera peppers, which originated in Cuba, and this market stall was just swamped with them…
Tortillas are the other staple at every Mexican meal, (although white Wonder bread and its highly refined Mexican cousin called Bimbo are taking over as the locals aspire to a North American diet), and tortillerias can be found on many street corners. Most tortillas are made by machine today, but this lady still makes them by hand in the market...
It's our last week in Mexico; the sun is shining, the sea is warm. and we're off to the beach for lunch.

And the winner of the fruit competition was Catherine who rushed down and accepted her prize so that she could shower us with ice - thanks. The fruits are: guanabana, mamey and anone.
The runner up was Jordan - nice try.
Hasta luego.

Posted by Hawkson 05:49 Archived in Mexico

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looking forward to seeing you back at bookclub in a week. love Jean

by jean

Interesting character walking past the tortilla lady--a mixture of Goth, comedy and mod (designer jeans).

by R and B

that poor lady who has fallen asleep by her wares - she is going to have a stiff neck when she wakes.

by Janet

You have not disappointed. Lots of food entries near the end. Another round of great photos - I really liked the Monet-like shots of fish an entry or two back - very atmospheric.

by Tom

Will look forward to seeing you on your return.
Doing a play reading tonight for Frank Moher..
I play a feisty old woman whose son is trying to bump her off..needless to say, she gets the better of him.
Love all the pics...beside superb writing, superb photos...Thank you, from one confined to base.
hugs, Sharron

by Sharron

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