Market day summary

OK.  I’ll just say it right off the bat.  Learning Spanish is going to be DIFFICULT.  I am attempting to learn it by simply conversing with the locals.  Except that I feel a complete lack of confidence in the minute number of words I do know, and my Canadian cultural tendancies all scream that you don’t go speaking with perfect strangers asking them to help you learn their language.  Ya, I’m in tough here.

At the market today we were given a list of informational items that we were supposed to ascertain (big word alert!) from the people there.  But I will now attempt to describe the market.

CHAOS

UTTER MASS CHAOS

If you have a fear of enclosed spaces, don’t go to the market.  It is jammed packed.  Oh ya, have I mentioned that the average height of the locals is probably a foot shorter than me?  And all of the tarps covering the market are placed as such?  And I was carrying Katria in the backpack (on my back of course)?  No?  Well, I’ll mention it at sometime.  I was hunched over a lot.  A lot.

But we tried.  I think tried might be too strong a term though.  If anyone can provide a word that is less than try but more than do nothing and includes feelings of total inadequacy and overwhelmedness (it’s a word because I just wrote it) I would put that word here.  Lessthantrybutmorethannothingwhilebeinginadequateandoverwhelmedness is a little long.

We were able to find a couple of things we needed for the kids in the market.  Then we were able to make our way to the grocery store.  Thankfully one of the items in the scavenger hunt was the price of a box of cereal at this store.  That’s one item we got!  Oh ya, we found a pot at the grocery store.  We needed that.

(I just want to note here that the items on this list were things I would have a hard time asking people if it all was in English. )

After groceries we stowed the stuff in the van and headed back to the market.  We needed to find a “lichi” and bring it back.  I decided it was of the fruit and vegetable group so we headed to where the fruit/veggie market was.  We found a bunch of them on the way and we stopped and “talked” with one lady.  She really loved Katria and gave us some grapes for her and Chels and Jared.  I then asked if she had a lichi.  She answered very nicely.  I gave a blank stare (it’s back, but on my face this time).  Thankfully the wonderful Michelle caught enough of the answer.  “It’s out of season” she told me.  Oh.  No lichi for me-chi.

One of the other items on the list was to find out the names of two fruit or veggies that we don’t have back home.  I saw two right there.  I asked what the name was of one.  The seller handed me a bag to put what I wanted in there.  That’s not what I asked.  I tried again, she motioned for me to pick what I wanted.  This is not working.  Michelle (again to the rescue!) motions to another fruit and says that one of our friends really likes these.  I bag a couple of those and I ask the name, or maybe Michelle did.  We got the answer.  Another list item down!  I then see another fruit that is unfamiliar (it’s in the shape of a star, kind of cool) and Michelle asks the name of that one.  Yes!  Another list item.  If it wasn’t for Michelle though…

We then needed to head over to a local hotel to meet up with the rest of the team for a kind of midday debrief and lunch.  On the way over we grabbed some tamales (another list item!).  Met up with Jon and Jenna who are from Virginia.  We talked about the list and they were having as much “fun” as we were.  Jon and Jenna have two young kids and they were tired.  This is one strong and brave couple to be here with kids this young.  Totally amazing.  They rock.

I asked them if they found out about the lichi and they said they got one.  They had asked a bunch of different vendors until one lady said she had one.  She wanted to sell a whole bag but Jon only wanted one.  He showed it off; it looked like some kind of purple string bean.  I told Jon he was my hero for finding it.

A short while later some other people meet up with us.  I tell them that Jon and Jenna rock because they found the lichi.  One girl says “it’s a small, red fruit.”  We say “no” and show the purple bean.  She tells us “that’s not a lichi!”

Jon and Jenna got hosed by some fruit stand lady in the market!  Good laughs all around.

Short paragraph to describe about two hours of time: team leader Gord (from Red Deer!) takes us over to a comedor (restaurant) to chat.  We chat.  We then head back to the van to come back to the base.  Find that a local has anointed our van with fecal matter (poop) of some variety.  Better than slashed tires or broken glass we all agree.  Bring Michelle and kids home.  Head back to town to get a table.

I had directions to get to the place that had chairs although I needed to park as close as possible and walk to it.  I have been there before (nail on arm guy, remember?).  Well, having directions and a general knowledge isn’t enough in Tlaxiaco on market day.  Ended up spending 20 minutes or so driving around, taking turns then backing up out of that turn onto main street because someone else was backing up on that road and then going back to the place that I thought I shouldn’t be at.  Finallly I get frustrated and decide to find a parking spot and walk to find the place.  Hopefully I wouldn’t have to walk too far with my table by myself.

Searching for a spot I see a Jeep pulling out of a “spot” in a median on the road.  Good enough for me!  I’m starting to drive like a Mexican at least.  Maybe language will come later.  I park and walk in the direction I need to go.  I know this because I can see the large catholic church that I know the furniture is by.  I somehow actually ended up walking right to the spot.  Cool.

And as I am walking up to the “store” I see a heavenly sight.  GRINGO’s!  My gringos no less.  They’re buying some stuff and as it turns out could use a ride with it back.  I have a van surprisingly close by so I make the trade if they will help me carry it.  Done deal.  I purchase a table and a cute little chair and then we stack up all the stuff (grand total: 2 tables, 5 chairs) and begin the walk back to the van.  Comical sight.  Three gringos carrying a bunch of furniture down the middle of the road.  Again, we’re getting some of this culture thing down.  The van is actually only a block away too!  I don’t remember ever verbally praying for help, but God sure provided it here.  I like when that happens.  Yes sir, I like it.

So, the furniture gets in the van.  Well, mostly.  We had to bungee the gate shut.  We head back to the base and everyone is happy.  We’ll do it again next weekend because Mike and Daysi still need a table (I think) and Jon and Jenna want one too.  This time, I know EXACTLY where to go.

Maybe next time I’ll even know some more Spanish.

Note: one huge reason I LOVE Mexico – drinking Coke is considered a huge social thing here.  You’re expected to do it.  There is even a ministry named after it: Coke ministry.  That’s a ministry I have a passion for.  And an addiction too!  I know I’m in the right place.  So much for quitting though.  I didn’t want to anyways.  🙂

/RD

3 Replies to “Market day summary”

  1. K, I couldn’t come up with just one word, but how about “feebly attempt” 🙂
    Thanks for the updates! I look forward to them everyday!
    Love you all!

  2. Ryan, I am with you on the cultural exchange thing. When I was in Germany (and had a decent enough understanding of what people were saying) I didn’t eat for 2 days because I was so concerned about my pronounciation.

    I get it.

    Lichi – please don’t tell me those are Lychee, ’cause that ain’t Mexican, its Chinese. (they are a red hard peel with a jelly like centre about the size of a mini plum.

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