Monday, September 29, 2008

Abastos with Insiders

This morning, I went with my buddies Liz, Nina, and Miguel to the Central de Abastos. This is the main city market that I've been to many times, but it was only the second time I've been there with a Oaxaquena. And that makes a huge difference. Rather than do the unending circle of the lost white girl, past the shoes then the meat, the shoes and meat (it's like in the movie "European Vacation", when Chevy Chase says, "Look kids, Big Ben. Parliament. Look kids, Big Ben. Parliament" ad infinitum), I had Liz and Miguel to lead us straight to what we needed.

You say you need pinatas. Bam! 50 pesos, man. Candies in bulk for the pinatas? In moments, Nina was hooked up. A little apron for Geni for painting? Here's the section with stall after stall of embroidered aprons ("Too expensive," clicked Liz, making that little slightly disapproving sound with her tongue) for 45 pesos.

Bananas, art tables, free soda samples, mandarinas--everything we needed, we got. But the stumper has always been plates. Liz and I had been two weeks ago, and no one sold plates, just mountains of bowls and cups. Plastic plates, there's a ton of them, but nothing in beautiful ceramic. And then we went to a friend's house and she had these great ceramic plates. Liz jumped on our friend, "Where? How much?" Our friend drew us a map of how to find the stall in Abastos and we set off. Turn left at Shalom furniture store, duck under the tarps, and, yes, there were the plates. Dark blue painted flowers on white ceramic. I was so happy. "How much?" I asked. When the lady said 55 pesos for the big ones and 25 pesos for the little ones, I steeled myself. Liz clicked her tongue. But I jumped in regardless and came home with plates. Steve asked me, "Why didn't you buy more?" but, honestly, I had to risk the wrath of Liz to buy the five I came home with!

And I did get a discount in the end, the other benefit of going to Abastos with a Oaxaquena.

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