At the Market

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I’ve heard some east-coasters and others call the grocery store a “market.”

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Those stores are never going to be “markets” for me, and here’s why:

This
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is a market.

Not some well-lit, perfectly stocked and clean superstore.

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This woman (or her family) grew all these vegetables, and she’s here every day except Sunday, selling them.

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In December, we went for a trip down nostalgia lane, visiting the market where my mom had often shopped.

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In the old days, a woman like this would often meet you at the entrance of the market with a rough bit of rope in hand. There weren’t a lot of plastic bags in those days, and my mom would carry a large wicker basket with a handle.

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The women in the market’s perimeter would offer to carry your basket, lashing it to their backs with the rope and following along after you as you shopped.

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After each purchase, my mom would deposit fruits and vegetables in the basket, which grew heavier with each stop. Then, she carried it to the car and my mom paid her a few hundred sucres. Those women may not have had skills or even enough capital to raise a few vegetables on the side, but they used what they had to earn an income.

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We used to take visitors to this market to scare them a little, with the vegetable peel-strewn lanes, flies and juicy animal parts sitting unrefrigerated. Now, however, it’s cleaned up it’s act.

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Clean white tile, wide stalls – Inaquito looks very little like it used to.

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Ecuadorians wear their babies on their backs, and the women in the market couldn’t get over the fact that my new little niece was tied snugly to her mom’s front.

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And then, as a market-must, pick up a dozen roses or other fresh flowers for around $5 a bunch on your way out.

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So Albertson’s? Kroger? Jewel-Osco?

Not a market.

This little guy’s uncle selling limes at Inaquito?

Market.

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3 thoughts on “At the Market

  1. Reminds me of the markets back home in Korea! A lot in common, except maybe more slimy seafood and seaweed in Pusan. Blech! Love that photo of Kelley, by the way. Just sweet.

  2. Took Eden there last week for tomatillos and sweet potatoes. I got stopped by about 7 different women wanting to see the “baby with blue eyes” and asking where I got the hot sling from. I met a woman with a baby born 2 days after Eden. AND I got so many sweet potatoes that I almost did employ a carrier lady (except now they have old grocery carts) but decided I was going to heft my own in the end! I had one lady run after me after spending 5 minutes cooing over the baby. She flagged me down just to ask, “But what is the baby’s name?”

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