Guatemala has beautiful markets. They look just like they do on the postcards. But while the postcards show all the visual beauty of the place, they don´t capture exactly how overwhelming the experience is.
Fresh fruits line the street - they are brightly colored and stacked high. There is barely space to walk between the stalls. There are the expected fruits and veggies available - oranages, mangoes, bananas, strawberries, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, beans, avacados, etc. - plus a whole lot more that I don´t remember the names of. And for those of you who would ask, yes, there is pumpkin. They don't get any fresher than here, being picked no earlier than the day before, if not the very morning I visited. The odors of the market make me salivate and my stomach growl. The overall scent is that of fresh cut grass, but its not grass, its produce. At one popular stall there was a guy selling little chicks, but he had DYED some of them bright pink, purple, green and blue. Many families go to the market everyday to pick out what they'll eat that night. The stands themselves are brightly colored with a rainbow of umbrellas and signs. In addition to the stands, some people walk the street selling miscallaneous merchandise such as hair clips, belts, shoes, clothing, goats. To top off the sights the people dress in their imfamous textiles which are delicately embroidered with bright and intricate designs. Everytime I go I plan to buy some produce for the household I'm staying with, but I'm always too busy taking it all in to decide.
The sounds of the market are even more exciting. Each vendor is calling out his or her product, offering deals, bargining and trying to attract customers. The market is usually a busy traffic area, so there bus engines roaring and cars honking in the background. Then there's the loud bumping music playing from somewhere close by and the wandering preacher calling all patrons to Jesus who gives us our daily bread. On the hour the local church bells will ring, and at noon they give a full ten minute performance. All of this action wouldn't be justified without a crowd of people. I was always bumping into and dodging people. There was barely enough room to walk. I'm too afraid to go to the market by myslef. I need a guide so that I won't get too overwhelmed and get lost. I've been really lucky to always have a local expert accompany me to the market. The day I go alone will be quite a long journal entry.