November 21, 2010

Los Tianguis Empalme—the Sunday Market

  While Guaymas has a Walmart, Sam’s Club and several other large grocery stores, this is still very much a market/bartering culture. We’d heard about the Sunday market in Empalme from a few other boaters (especially the one boater who scored some excellent new Patagonia shorts for $1). Called a tianguis, vendors at these open air markets sell new and second hand merchandise, fresh fruit and veggies, cheese and local honey.
 This morning we headed by bus with the folks on Sea Turtle to the tianguis in Empalme (a small town about 15 minutes away, at the southern end of the Guaymas basin). The Empalme market is huge. It took us a solid 2 hours to get from one end to the other – and we still missed most of the side streets that branched off.
 Initially I found the experience of ploughing through mounds of stuff overwhelming—but when I found my first pair of REI shorts (tags still on and in my size) for ten pesos (< $1) I was hooked. From that moment, the hunt was on. Searching through what must be the equivalent of a half dozen huge second hand stores we found Maia brand new shoes and a bunch of new clothes and Evan got several pairs of shorts and a shirt—and the damage was less than $15.
 Beyond clothes, we could have easily stocked up on power tools, toys and household appliances, not to mention Christmas decorations, CD’s and cleaning products. But it’s still really odd to consider buying a washing machine or sectional couch from street vender…
I do wish I had bought some of the honey though, and some of the coconut candy that I love so much. I guess if we’re still around next Sunday we’ll have to go back. You never know quite what you might find…

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