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Old Mercados

Don't ask me why, but I got to remembering the many different Mercados I visited and even frequented, in Mexico and Latin America....honestly...I have no idea what made me think of that!

I was only 12 years old when we moved to Mexico in 1969. I remember vividly, the first Mercado Daddy took us all to in Guadalajara. We had no idea what to expect, but it sure was not what we encountered! The sights and smells that assaulted the senses were completely alien to us! The meat market turned our stomachs; the flowers stalls were beyond compare; the spices were displayed in gunny sacks and stacked alongside sacks of dried shrimp and tiny sardines; there were stacks a tall as a person of pineapples, oranges and avocados and bananas hanging by racemes from the ceiling. And then, in another section, there were hundreds of stalls of fabrics, cloth, shoes and sandals, and pottery.

The floors were muddy and flies were everywhere...

I remember turning around and finding myself face to face with a large, red, fleshy "something", covered with what looked like little, black, slimy frog eggs. I must have turned three different shades of green, because I remember Daddy laughing so hard, before explaining to me that this was a papaya! Who knew?

Over the ten years I spent in Latin America, I walked to and through many Mercados; mostly just for our regular shopping needs. If I could not find what I needed at the local Mercado, I had a couple of small shops where I could get things like clothes soap and canned goods. As years went by, I learned to really enjoy my shopping trips, acquiring favorite vendors and learning where to find my favorite shopping snacks--steamed yucca, served on a banana leaf and smothered in a wonderful salsa; corn on the cob, roasted over coals and then rubbed with lime dipped in salt and chili powder; and green mangos, sliced in long fingers, served in a plastic bag with lime juice and sprinkled with salt, chili, and ground pumpkin seed.

Living here in western Montana, those times and places seem so very, very far away and so very long ago. I am so glad I got to experience that!

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Feb 29

I can still smell all the various smells!


Tiffany Begley
Tiffany Begley
Feb 28

What an incredible and memorable experience!

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