Once we got the market, I could barely believe my eyes. It was still dark out, and there were thousands of people running from building to building, buying and selling their goods. The delivery men carry box upon box on their shoulders, running to the parking area to drop off the products in the buyers trucks.
Today is the Dia del Virgen, so some people we also shooting off some big fireworks in the parking lot/loading area/hangout area. I´ve come to realize that large scale, explosive fireworks can be used for everything in South America, be it the start of a fútbol game, a workers demostration in the streets, or a holiday.
Each building contained something different, carrots in one, pototoes in another, mangoes and tropical fruit in one, and so on. If you wanted to buy ANY type of fruit there, you could
I followed Lida around for about an hour, watching her mingle with sellers and figure out who has the best prices for everything. It´s interesting to note that no one uses there names in the market. Every buyer uses initials or a code for their name. This code is what the delivery people use when they drop off the goods that she purchased. Lida´s is AP, the initials of her late husband. So, as we´re walking, you could hear people yelling out "Ah-Peh!!" trying to get her attention. Lida doesn´t exist at the market, only AP does.
Once we were done with all the purchases, we went to a little coffee/liquor stand, and had some coffee and empanadas. Lida´s friend Nelson showed up and we decided to do a shot of Aguardiente, a liquorice flavored liquor. Well, once you start doing shots, you don´t stop. Everyone was buying us shots and we probably did 4 in total. Good stuff.
At the coffee stand, Nelson and I had a really good conversation about Colombia´s world image, among other things, and how their president Uribe, is going a great job at promoting the country and all it has to offer. He was telling me about how when he is introduced in the US or Panama as a Colombian, people get really nervous and tense up, while when you introduce a foreigner(like me) to a group of Colombians, the Colombians are amazingly kind. When Lida introduces me as a student from the USA, they people are alway so intriuged about what I think of Colombia, the food, the women, and everything in between. They´re proud of their country, and they want to know what we think of it. They are also very impressed that a young US student is traveling in Colombia and came to see family and just hang out.
All in all, I had a great day. It was really fun to see what goes into running a fruit stand. I had a good time doing it for one day, but I don´t know if I could do it every day for four years. It´s definitely hard, respectable work. I´m becoming really comfortable with the family now and I´m really happy I came. I was really nervous before I arrived, but now it´s like I´m hanging out wiht my own family.
More To Come!