Monday, May 21, 2012

Mercado Abastos in Oaxaca

Crowded Abastos market, Oaxaca, Oaxaca

The rains began in April; normally we expect them to start in July. I don't like rain, and so I made plans to travel beginning mid-July. I like tropical storms because they refresh the land and cool the air. However, that is not what I've experienced many times here in Oaxaca. Heavily overcast skies are all too frequent. Without sun I am depressed. Before I mislead you, generally Oaxaca has perfect weather. The overcast days, although they haunt me, are rare.

Yesterday was bright and sunny, and my mood matched the day. For quite some time I've been meaning to purchase a new fanny pack. The one I have has broken zippers. When wondering where I could find a new one, I decided to take a trip to Abastos.

Abastos, said to be Mexico's largest mercado, is four acres of stalls. Everything is sold there. Furniture, fruits and vegetables, crafts, shoes, clothing, if you can't find it at Abastos, you can't find it anywhere. Generally, tourists don't go to this mercado, in part because of its reputation as a hang out for pickpockets. Seemingly, every extranjero, except me, has a story of being robbed or harassed.

It is a crazy place for sure, full of sounds, sights, smells, and crowded busyness. For some strange reason, although I generally do not like crowds and hate shopping, I love this place of insanity.

It's quite a walk from my house to Abastos, and so I decided to take the bus. At the market, and on the bus, I was the only non-Mexican.

I learned that a fanny pack is called a mochila, which is the same word used for what in English is called a backpack. I eventually found one. Not knowing what to do with my old one I offered it to the vendor who sold me my new fanny pack/mochila. After I purchased my mochila I wandered through the fruit and vegetables section, where I found produce in excellent condition.  I've made the decision to visit Abastos around twice a week to purchase fruits and vegetables.

Abastos market video

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