Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Trip to La Cancha

So, La Cancha is unofficially known as the largest outdoor market in South America...and just happens to be in Cochabamba. I've now gone there twice...and it's difficult to describe. There are SO many people - to the extent that you are really just carried by the crowds. The stalls are divided by area - roughly all of the clothing will be together, all of the artesan products together, all of the food together, etc.

I think the best way to provide any sort of picture is simply to provide a list of some of the things I saw...please keep in mind that this is only some...

  1. Walls of shoes. Walls.
  2. A live chicken.
  3. A dead chicken - the whole thing - and then all of the pieces that had been removed from the other chickens who had already been purchased.
  4. Hand knit hats with llamas on them. 
  5. Stray dogs everywhere.
  6. Mountains of fruit - apples, papayas, pineapples, and many that I didn't know the names for.
  7. Abercrombie, Hollister, and a variety of other high-end brand-name clothing items 
  8. Women breastfeeding. They are everywhere. And they just whip out their boobs like it's no big deal. I think breast feeding is great, but it is a little awkward to be shopping for a pair of socks while the vender is breastfeeding her child (sometimes as old as 3 or 4 years old!).
  9. HUGE hunks of meat. Like the entire backside of a cow. 
  10. A dressing room made out of a sheet of fabric that was held up by the vender while another woman stood behind it changing her clothes - you could still see her head from the aisle:)
  11. Ripped off CDs and DVDs. There aren't really any copyright laws here...or if they are, they are not enforced. You can honestly get anything here. Justin Beiber seems to be very popular.
  12. A woman walking around pushing a cake on a cart. You could pay her and she would cut you a slice.
  13. In terms of selling food - there were people walking through the aisles with buckets of juice and sweets. My favorite are the women selling cups of jello - they wander through the aisles singing/yelling "Gelatiiiiiiiiiiiiiina!!!!"
  14. Microwaves. MP3 players. Cameras. Refridgerators. Speaker Systems. Televisions.
  15. Ice cream. Handmade. There are these big buckets that have handles on them. These buckets go in bigger buckets that are filled with ice. The woman stand over the buckets and spin the handle, creating delicious cinnamon or cream flavored ice cream.
There are so many more...but you get the jist. It's a mad house. I've heard it's even crazier at Christmas time. The first time I went it was overwhelming, the second time it was less overwhelming and more fun, and we'll have to see what the third time brings!  

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