• CheryLynn Ferrari

It's Always Market Day Somewhere!

Monday, that's market day in Chapala. I'm told it's the biggest and best priced market at lakeside so today I made it a point to find out. I invited my friend Karen to join me. She's here on her exploratory trip from TX. We met at Soriana (the Chapala grocery store) and walked across the street to meander the long and very uneven cobblestone lane of booths on both sides of a side street that runs parallel to the main drag into the town of Chapala.

I took an umbrella but the early rain showers had passed leaving a clear day and just a little darkness clinging to the tops of the mountains north of us. The booths seemed to be much more catered to the locals and far less to expats. One day I'll take some cooking classes so I can learn what a lot of these foods are and how to prepare them. For now, they remain a complete mystery.

The veggies looked incredibly good and fresh from the dirt. The aromas of cut fruits, so the vendors could prove the ripeness, filled the air around their tables. There were tables of fresh fish, octopus, and shrimp. Tables of chicken being cut into pieces where you could buy it raw or cooked on the grills of the vendors. The delectable smells of the spices and the cooking chicken caused involuntary salivation.

Other vendors were cooking Mexican dishes, some had tables and chairs so that people could sit and eat before moving on. There were huge glass jars of a variety of beverages, many being fruit infused water and fruit juices, I believe.

In between all of the food booths were places where locals could buy clothes and shoes, like a big yard sale. Some booths were for misc. household items, grains and nuts by the kilo, and just plain junk. And there were flowers, beautiful fresh cut flowers.

I was a bit disappointed even with all that it offered because I had anticipated seeing a lot of handmade items and textiles. That was almost completely absent. But, not to worry, there are markets almost every day of the week here at lakeside and they all cater to a different target market. Some are very much keyed to expats with higher prices on their goods, and some are very organic themed.

Then there are the street vendors who move around the towns and unload their trucks on the roadsides. They offer everything from fresh coffee, to furniture, textiles, the Mexican leather covered furniture called equipale, fresh fruits and juices, potted plants, fresh coconuts, and more.

Buy your food, take it home and wash it good or cook it good and you will enjoy the bounty of what grows here. Buy your furniture and enjoy the flavor of Mexican craftsmanship every time you walk through a room. Buy the art and textiles and splash the colors of Mexico throughout your home. Become immersed and enjoy the country you live in! That's my goal and that's what I'm working on.

Market time done, a few things from Soriana, and home. After a bit of getting some pressing things done via laptop, I had an early dinner date with my friend Janice. It was finally time for us to go to the Italian restaurant I had heard about just east of us.

No one else was there! But Janice had been there before and vouched for the food quality so we enjoyed that entire terrazza by ourselves. What an incredible and eclectic place! My dinner was delish and I have enough leftovers for another entire meal. I had pasta with shrimp and peppers in white wine sauce with a heaping plate of fresh made bread and ice water. My bill was $6 USD plus tip.

Janice stayed at my house after bringing me home and we talked for about an hour. SO many things in common and similar views to share. She has led an amazing life and has written a book about part of it which I will enjoy reading. When she left I came upstairs to finish my blog but my phone started ringing. She had gone one street over to a little grocery before going home and her car wouldn't start again. I immediately jumped in the van to see if I could give her battery a jump but neither of us had jumper cables and the latch to pop my hood was broken and it wouldn't open. I know, this sounds like our day was ending in major calamity, but it didn't.

I was able to call Sylvia, the sister of the owner of my house who lives right around the corner from where we were. She came to the rescue with family members who went to get cables and get Janice's car going. We met the man who lives in the house we were stuck in front of, Alex, who speaks great English and also lives in San Francisco part of the year. He told me to come over anytime I might need anything, just as most everyone else has done. And I got to laugh and goof off with a bunch of young boys playing soccer in the town center. They were probably the age of my grandkids, 11-ish, and they waved and smiled at me when I drove by to go home.

It was a not so good thing turned very good. I met more neighbors, strangers became friends, and I feel even more a part of my little village community. I really love it here. And there is a little brown female pup who has been hanging around in front of the house. She is a street dog but is pretty well fed by the community. She wags her little tail when she sees me and I talk to her. I did sneak a hot dog to her today. I think we may become good buddies.

Update - Janice's car still didn't start so she got a ride home (only a couple of minutes up the road) and left the car parked on the street. She'll have mechanics look into it tomorrow. More on that saga later.

And I decided to call the pup Bizcocho (biscuit).

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