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El Mercado!

As Sophia would say...

"I did it"!!!

Only in this case, WE did it.

We - Jerry and I - did the thing that people have been warning us to be very careful about doing - ever since we came to visit Barranquilla for the first time back in 2k7.

We walked through...

and shopped at...

...............drum roll..................

El Mercado!!!


I took pictures.


I still have my camera!!!


Now...for you Colombians who were born and raised in Barranquilla - or even in this country - you'll probably laugh at me and not think that it was such a great big deal.

But it was

Oh my goodness it was :)

and I'm more in love with this city - and it's people - than EVER.

Calle 30 is Waaaay over there just before you get to the Rio Magdalena.

One day last week, we were sitting on what I call our lanai (I think it's called a patio here). Our landlady's father was having a cup of coffee with us after fixing our leaky roof.

I've had a terrible time here keeping my clothes smelling fresh because the  closets are always damp. Now I know why.

Welp, a couple weeks ago, the wind (a strong one) changed direction and God poured out a river on Barranquilla at the same time, and water was literally running down our walls - inside - on the NW side of the house.

My clothes were soaked.

So we called the landlord and his father-in-law, Mr. Carlos, came out asap and patched it all up.

The good thing is...now that the roof is fixed, everything should stay fresher. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

But I digress.

As we were sitting on the patio, drinking our coffee, we told Mr. Carlos that we were looking for gourds and asked if he knew of a place to get some.

He said, "Sure". 

And Mr. Landlord, Edward, promptly volunteered him to come by next Tuesday to take us to where they're sold.

Keep in mind - we don't speak each other's language so it's fantabulo (another Sophia saying) that we get as far as we do.

Thank you for the Spanish/English dictionary!

Anyway, we had no idea where that would be (where gourds are sold), but since Jerry and I have been walking ALL over the north part of the city - and hadn't seen any - I kinda sorta figured it must be that we were going to the market place down on Calle 30 where you can get just about anything.

................drum roll...................................

El Mercado. 

The place that everyone warned us about.

"Make sure you don't have a lot of money on you".

"Make sure you have it in separate pockets".

"Make sure you only take what you need out when you go to pay".

"Make sure you DON'T bring your camera".

And if you do, "Make sure you don't bring it out"!!!

"Make sure you go on a day when the wind is 'fresh' because it can get a little smelly".

"Make sure you don't wear nice jewelry".

You get the idea.

We'd been there in 2k7 when we first visited Barranquilla and Pedro rented a taxi for a couple hours to drive us around.

Back then, when I opened the taxi window to take a picture, the driver and Pedro both yelled at me...uh... strongly urged me to close the window and put my camera away. 


I don't think Pedro yells.

(Remind me some time to tell you about a similar situation I had in a taxi regarding my camera in yet another barrio).

Anywho, I listened for a few minutes - and didn't re-open the window.

Because it scared me a little. 

But not for long.

No - I didn't open the window. 

Yes - I still took pictures.

But I still didn't get many pictures on that trip.

I mean...I was sitting in the front seat snapping away... trying to hide the camera from the taxi driver and Pedro who was diagonally behind me. 

Feeling guilty of course.

After all, someone could have smashed in the window and grabbed it out of my hand.


Gringo Loco.

They just shook their heads and didn't say anything else...because I think when most people meet me... they just...know.
Anyway...when Mr. Carlos came to the house on Tuesday morning - ready and willing to go - whether he wanted to or not - we asked him if we were going to...

................drum roll............

EL Mercado.

And he said...


Hot Diggity Dog!!!

So we hailed a taxi out front, Mr. Carlos negotiated the fare and we got off to an early start.

Some of the vendors were still setting up along the way...

I'd asked Mr. Carlos if it was "seguro" to bring my camera along - and being the laid back older gentleman that he is - he said...


I think he was surprised that I'd even asked.

Double Diggity!!!

So I took pictures from the taxi window all the way there. (All those you see above - of El Mercado - are from the taxi).

Go back up and look at that view from the back seat of the taxi. 

I mean...the taxi driver knows the area so he took out his Bible, hung his crucifix on the rear view mirror, had a stencil of Mother Mary on the outside of his car, played a praise and worship CD, was praying.

Just kidding.

The Colombian people love the Lord and aren't afraid to show it.

And I love that about them.

So now, I'll add more pictures of the drive down...

When I saw this dude (above), I felt totally safe about getting out, making purchases and taking pictures.


We did finally come to a stop and we did finally get out of the taxi and all of a sudden...

My excitement took a bit of a nose dive and I was a little nervous.

Mr. Carlos, out of blocks and blocks and more blocks of vendors, knew exactly which street had the booth that sold gourds and led us straight to it.

He's a no nonsense kind of a fella with the energy of 3 or 4 young men so I didn't get any pictures on the way "in" just trying to keep up with him.


That's just an excuse.

I was a little nervous.

After finding, looking at, choosing, negotiating prices and purchasing my gourds, I felt Mucho more comfortable and told myself I'd be really pissed if I didn't get "foot" pictures so I whipped it out...

and took these...

This is the first one I took just after buying my gourds.

All of a sudden I find myself wanting a bird.

In the next one, I'm standing in the same spot as the one above...just pointed the camera in a different direction. We were "inside" at this point.

Here's Mr. Carlos in the yellow shirt in front of me several minutes and streets later...

You really had to watch where you walked (although it doesn't show in my pictures) - which is my other excuse for only taking FIVE pictures.


Big Ninny.

This is one of the little stores we stepped inside of because Jerry's been looking for 'strikers' so he can make a couple potato cannons.

Do they ever grow up? 

And he found them there at a great price.

And I'm sorry to say...that's it! That's all I took when I was in the thick of it.

Really big ninny.

But never again.

As we walked away from the market area I took these...

The picture above was where Mr. Carlos put us in a taxi and sent us on our way - after negotiating the cab fare of course.

He stayed at El Mercado to play. :)

It was a totally exhilarating, exciting, real life morning and







Nitey Nite...

1 comment:

  1. These are the most wonderful photos!!! Knowing you and your blog is like traveling without packing a suitcase (and with a cheerful and enthusiastic companion!!!). You have such an eye for detail, the unusual, whatever is different and interesting.....keep taking those pics!!!


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