4/15/04 SHOPPING TIPS for everyday living in SMA Don Gussin
Wine and Liquor
Pharmacies - In Mexico, you don't seem to need a prescription.
All day every Tuesday, next to Gigante.
And outside of SMA
===and a comment from Don===
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4/15/04 THE TUESDAY MARKET by Lee Asheroff
Whether you are looking for the freshest vegetables in town, need a part for some appliance, want to rummage through tables full of clothing or just enjoy the bustle and color of the Mexican people at work, The Tuesday market is the place to be.
This bustling weekly extravaganza is a wonderful experience for visitors and locals alike. Tourists should bring their cameras to capture the tables laden with fresh fruits and vegetables. Red tomatoes, white onions, green broccoli, white cauliflower – colorful peppers, melons and pineapples – mountains of red strawberries – all tempt you – either to buy or to photograph. And the beautiful children in makeshift playpens (usually a cardboard box) or toddling under the watchful eyes of their busy parents are a joy to behold.
The market is located behind Gigante and is accessible by bus or car. There is a huge parking lot – in some disrepair - but with patience you can usually find a spot – just remember where you parked your car.
Some words of advice before you leave your house: comfortable shoes are a must – leave your sandals at home – the rough, pebble strewn parking lot calls for sturdy lace up shoes. Tarpaulins cover the market so you will be protected from the sun but watch out for ropes and guy wires holding them in place. If you don’t have a shopping bag you can buy one or two there. A bottle of water is a good idea; you can buy soda but not always water. Be careful where you carry your money – as in any large flea market. Having change is helpful; vendors usually have trouble changing large bills.
Now for the fun part –Even though you will be tempted to buy from the first stand you see – remember you have to carry those bags and there are many more stands, each looking more temping than the last. Try to remember where you saw those luscious strawberries – but sometimes you cannot find your way back to that spot. But ripe strawberries on the bottom of your bag is not a good idea and there will be more along the way. Remember these need to be soaked before you eat them so resist the temptation to consume them on the spot.
So now start walking – you will pass clothing stands, shoes and boots, a variety of beans and spices, piled on tarps on the ground, another photo op.. There are barrels of grains and cereals to tempt you. Colorful candies and nuts can be purchased in small bags and munched on as you shop.
You will be surprised to see so many gringos at the stands piled high with clothing, new and used. Labels from The Gap and Marshalls can be found mixed in with used clothing. I own a Ralph Lauren fleece jacket, two Liz Claiborne blouses and great sandals – bargains all from what we locals call “The Boutique”. Just check very carefully for defects before you buy. And when you pull on that garment at the bottom of the pile and it does not come out – check to see if there is a Mexican woman on the other side pulling the other sleeve – that happened to me one day. We both laughed and I let it go.
Then there are the watches and sunglasses – want a Rolex or a Casio or a pair of Designer sunglasses – you can probably find a knock off here. In fact when my niece visited from London she refused to buy a Rolex because of the high incidents of muggings for these watches there. “I don’t want to be mugged for a fake Rolex” was her comment. Her friend felt differently as she bargained for three of these watches – getting the price down from 150 pesos for 100 pesos each for the three watches. I watched in amazement since I was just congratulating myself for getting one for 120 pesos. So use all your bargaining skills here. Watchbands are adjusted on the spot for a good fit.
The many food stands are tempting - but I would exercise care in eating there. One friend of mine eats there every week – sure of the safety of her favorite stand. But if you are not sure – skip it. If you must eat, the fried fish is your best bet – The fish is kept in a cooler, dipped in batter and quickly fried in hot oil. I skip the lettuce and tomatoes but the fish is truly delicious.
You can find parts for a Singer sewing machine, sewing thread, embroidery floss, yarn and knitting needles, Cd’s, cassettes, auto parts, radios, new and old tools – you name it – its there somewhere.
So spend a few hours on a Tuesday shopping at this colorful market – and go home tired and happy with your bargains, delicious fruits and veggies or pictures to share with those less fortunate than you who have to settle for the A&P.
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