I see that there’s a Travel Challenge this week. The theme is “Street Markets,” of which I’ve visited many on my travels.
Usually I can spend a good deal of time browsing around at all the goods on display, but this one, in La Paz, Bolivia, was so gruesome, that we only stopped long enough to take a photo, before hurrying away. La Paz has a population of over a million people, and at face value, it looks much like any other bustling city, with its high rise buildings, shops and restaurants, but when we stepped into this side street, we came upon El Mercado de las Brujas, which is Spanish for ‘The Witches’ Market’. Witches wearing dark dresses and hats, sell a bizarre assortment of goods there, and one can buy all manner of things, such as dried frogs, which are supposed to bring you wealth, ceramic naked couples to improve your sex life and fertility, Bolivian armadillos which are to put over your door to keep the thieves away, and most bizarre of all, dried llama fetuses, which 99% of Bolivian families are said to put in the foundations of their houses to bring good luck. This was one market which didn’t tempt us to buy souvenirs. 😉
This fruit and vegetable market just outside Cusco in Peru, was very interesting indeed. I saw all manner of fruit and veggies that you don’t get in our shops. Our guide told us that there are 4,000 types of potatoes in South America. We didn’t see that many, but certainly saw quite a lot that we didn’t recognise.
Peruvian farmers grow more than 55 varieties of corn, more than anywhere else on earth.This woman had some in every colour: white, yellow, purple, black, red and mixed.
We also found a stall selling many different natural dyes. The Andeans love their brightly coloured fabrics. The favourite colour is red, and the female cochineal beetle, to be found on the prickly pear cactus, is dried and ground down, to be used in the production of red dye. The other dyes are mostly vegetable, made from flowers, moss, tree bark and nut shells etc..
In Quito, Ecuador, we were surprised and horrified to see live guinea pigs for sale in the market, by the sackful!
Gualaceo, about 45 minutes’ drive from Cuenca, is a very traditional town, and here we came upon this 25th of July Market (Mercado 25 de Junio). At the doorway to the market, we saw a woman selling what appeared to be ‘fast food’.
On closer inspection, this is what we saw! It was roast guinea pig and corn take-away!!
Neither hubby nor myself could be persuaded to sample it, even though, I believe it is very low in cholesterol. 😉 I suppose it’s just our Western upbringing which makes us shy away from eating anything cute and cuddly, especially the kids’ household pets. Inside, there were some succulent looking roast pigs on display,
which I might have sampled, except for the fact that we were going out for a really slap-up restaurant meal that evening. We were again offered guinea pig, but opted for something less traditional. For the life of me, I can’t remember what we ate, but it certainly wasn’t anything remotely huggable. 😉
Well, that’s enough pics of South American markets to be going on with. If you want to see what markets other bloggers have been to, just click here.
Roasted guinea pig? Yeah that looks low in cholesterol … but seeing how I’m not much of a sampler I would have have passed on that too 🙂
After seeing the sweet little furry creatures being sold in the market, I certainly couldn’t contemplate even one tiny taste. 😉
Love your photos AD! Especially the colourful dyes. We couldn’t bring ourselves to sample guinea pig either 🙂
Thanks, Madhu. 😉
I’m never sentimental about food 🙂
How colourful it is!
Yes, everything about these people is full of colour. I notice that you ignored the hapless guinea pig. 😉
Wow ad, you could write a book on travelling and include all the fabulous pictures.
Yes, I guess I could, Hopestar. Maybe I could get a job with a travel magazine and get them to pay for my trips. 😉 Hugs xx
The witches market scared me, but the rest looks great.
What, even the roast guinea pig? 😉
I would have been ill at the thought of eating guinea pigs!
The idea didn’t exactly appeal to me either, Tandy.
Living in KZN you could arrange to have Cane Rat on a stick!
Never tried it but they say it close to rabbit which is said to be close to chicken…
Well I’ll have to take their word for it, Paul, as I’m not about to start a trend. Thanks for your suggestion though. 😉
wonderful photos ad, street markets are so exciting, and these south american ones look amazing 🙂
Yes, they were certainly fascinating, and very different to the European style ones.
Some cultures will eat anything that moves. Interesting pictures AD you sure get around 🙂
Thanks, optie. Yes we have been to some out of the ordinary places on our travels. 😉
Gosh! You’ve sure visited some strange places. My sons guinea pig will probably have nightmares after seeing this 🙂
Oh no! I hope you didn’t subject him to this terrible sight, Roly. He might have died of a heart attack. You could then have had him for supper. 😉
yikes, that guinea pig was a bit rough!
That’s one way of putting it, Ruth. I’m sure the ghost of the little guinea pig would agree with you. 😉
its always a shock to realise what other people consider edible
Yes, you’re right about that, sidey. 😉
What a colorful cultural tour of the markets, really enjoyed it.
Thank you. I’m happy that you did. 😉
Really wonderful post, I love all those different varieties of corn, and am a little traumatised by the guinea pig on a stick. Gulp. xxx
Thanks, ailsa. Sorry about the guinea pig. Hope it didn’t give you nightmares. 😉
This is a great market story. Thanks for writing it!
Thank you. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, trish. 😉
Seems it is a great fun to walk there… Thank you dear AD, you captured so nice photographs. Love, nia
Yes it was so very interesting, nia. 😉
Hi AD, I found those South American markets even more fascinating than those in the far east.
Yes they are, probably because they aren’t flooded with Chinese imports. 😉
wonderful post with such beautiful photos.
That first is beguiling. I too might not want to buy anything from there. But still the image is beautiful 🙂
Thanks so much, amira.;)
Wonderful photos. I don’t think I could ever eat a guinea pig. Especially on a stick. But I would love to photograph a roasted one like you did.
BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!
Thanks, Francine. No guinea pig meat shall ever pass my lips, either. 😉
Gorgeous market pics, thanks.
Glad you liked them, newsy. 😉
Are they really all different types of potatoes? That’s crazy I had no idea there were so many strange varieties. I enjoyed that image much more than the Guinea Pig on a stick though! It reminded me of the rule of someone I used to work with. He had to travel a lot to the far east with work and would always say ‘No organs, no extremities and no pets’.
That sounds like a a great rule of thumb, lance. 😉
Rule of thumb? No extremities remember! 🙂
Hehehe. You got me there. 😉