Tuesday, November 08, 2011

To Market, To Market

There is a serious tradition in Mexican towns of the market.   My first experiences with these were in Oaxaca where there is a superb market near the central bus station on Saturday and then a huge one a few miles out of town in Tlacalula on Sunday.

These markets are a mix of social gathering, place to shop and a bazaar.  One can get all sorts of food - superb fresh fruit and vegetables, usually many kinds of cooked food, clothing, auto parts, hardware, sometimes antiques and rummage.   The two in Oaxaca are interesting places.

They differ a bit from the in town markets that are present in many Mexican towns which often mix food, clothing and souvenirs but not auto parts.   (The Tlacalula market was for some time called Tokyolula but the natives because you could buy new cars there.

In 1995, I first noticed how slick the vendors were.  The peso was under tremendous burden and yet each of the vendors seemed to have understood the international monetary flows.  Let me offer two examples.   You often get a small coin purse to hold spare change.  For about a year I watched the price of the purses fluctuate with the value of the peso.  I also noticed that if an American came when the peso was really in the dumps (just before the devaluation) that they would offer a premium that was close to 20% for dollars.  About a year later, when the peso had stabilized that discount disappeared.   What amazed me about those two trends is that most of the vendors do not look like they studied international finance.

This morning we went to the Tianguis del Martes or Tuesday market.  It is done on the edge of town in a huge space.  I wanted to present a short video with three intents in mind.  #1 - Contrary to the notions that many Americans have of Mexico - not all music here is enchanting.   #2 - To give you an idea of the hustle and bustle in Mexican markets.  #3 - This will give you an idea about the variety of options in the market - the picture above gives you an idea about the colors.

Compared to some of the other markets we have been to in Mexico (including the Saturday market in San Angel in Mexico City) we did not find any exciting treasures.

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