Yesterday, after lunch, mom suggested we go uptown and shop for some yarn so I can knit Mel her green, thick scarf she asked me to do for her. She also suggested we go buy the doggies some food, since the vet recently told us we need to change their diet, and "maybe pick up a few groceries for ourselves as well".
I didn’t know it would turn into a full-on grocery shopping afternoon at the street market, and oh! How I loved it!
We got there and headed straight to the yarn section, which is an alley off the main road, full of street vendors and a mini-market where more people sell stuff. I love shopping for yarn there. I may only have recently returned to knitting, but I think it’s really close to my heart (or at least my compulsive need to make things) and the amount of colors, textures and kinds of yarns is soooo amazing! I want to be an expert knitter and knit a million things when I’m there. But, since I’m still a baby in that area, I have to settle for simple designs. But there is no crime in browsing, is there? So we did that and eventually found the color and brand of yarn I was looking for. It’s part acrylic, part alpaca, but very nice and soft, 100 grams. The funny thing is that on Tuesday I had bought some of the same brand and yesterday each skein had gone up 50 cents each. Was it because something had happened to the yarn market in 4 days, or was it that on Fridays they charge more? Weird. I mean, no biggie, it was only 50 BOLIVIAN cents (which comes out to about 6 American cents), but I still found it funny. Hmm.
Anyways, once that was done, we went down to the fabric section so mom could look at some fabrics she wants to make new bed sheets with. Nothing too good or to her liking was found, so we went to the food section, where we got some fruit.
Since we couldn’t find the dog food, mom decided to drive down a little to the next big market, called the Mercado Rodríguez, where my grandpa used to shop when he was alive. I love it, it’s the biggest outdoor food market in the city and I’ve always been fascinated by the big mounds of potatoes, fruits, etc. True, many people hate such a market because of the smells (there are fish, chicken and beef stands), plus food that has fallen is squashed on the floor and it’s slippery… BUT…. There’s nothing like it for a foodie like me. I love that you can walk down the street and fall in love with a bunch of mangoes because the woman selling them has cut some and the scent is totally inviting. I love that they call you "little momma" and other similar names as you are shopping with them, and mostly, I love that they are excellent sellers. They will cut up a piece of fruit and let you eat it for free in order to convince you how good it is. They will pinch the corn to show you it’s soft and sweet, will tell you all the yummy things you can cook with this kind of potato (did you guys know Bolivia has more than 200 varieties of potatoes? Pretty amazing, huh?) and will gladly slice the fish or chicken in any way you want them to in order for you to have it ready to prepare. I love it.
So, as I said, it turned into a huge shopping spree, since mom figured that since we were there we might as well shop for the week. So we got potatoes (three kinds), yucca, red peppers, avocados, bananas, some spices, limas (which aren’t limes, but another citrus fruit very common here, the size of an orange, but yellow, with a very sweet juice that turns sour about the minute you squeeze it. I love it, it’s perfect for a breakfast juice or to quench your thirst, but you must drink the juice immediately!). We also got chirimoyas (that’s the correct spelling) and granadillas, which are relatives of the pomegranate, but orange on the outside and with gray pulp and black seeds inside and one of my favorite fruits to eat! The woman who sold me these two did what I mentioned above: She cut a piece of the chirimoya and let me eat it. It was the most fun of all afternoon for me, standing there eating my chirimoya while the lady and my mom got the rest of the fruits ready.
It was a perfect afternoon, with food munching and mental menu planing (we are making cebiche, and more Peruvian stuff, as well as some yummy fruit desserts), as well as lots of fun with my mom, who is an amazing cook and more in love with food than I am. I will post pics soon of the stuff we will make. Until then, happy eating!