Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mercado Municipal

In a city with 15 million people, you’d think there’d be some life on the weekends. But no, not really. Yesterday while walking around I didn’t see too many people. And today, for most of my taxi ride to the Mercado Municipal, I barely saw a person (lots of cars, sure, but no one out and about), until we got to the market.

A little overwhelmed at first, I walked around and decided to get some fruit after I saw that they give out samples! I love samples.

So after trying a bunch, I settled on jaboticaba (look how crazy it grows, on the tree trunk!), sweetsop, a cashew fruit (I just wanted to try it, no samples of that) and a mystery fruit an orange passion fruit that just looked cool.

I think they charged me more than it was, but whatever. The interesting thing is that if you don't have exact change (lets say R$12), they'd rather take less (so R$10).

Then I made my way to the second floor of the market where there are food stalls and seating; super crowded and super loud. I got a mortadella sandwich at Hocca bar which is apparently “the thing” to do there, and I like doing “the thing” to do in places I don’t know.

And again, I don’t speak the language but they insist and ask questions and I don’t know what they’re asking! And then the girl behind me was like “he’s asking where you’re from”. But if I already told you I don’t speak Portuguese, shouldn’t you realize I don’t know what you’re saying? Sigh, I’m helpless over here and all I can do is say “ingles” and smile and shake my head apologetically and use hand gestures. It works for the most part.

For the most part, I’m fine taking pictures but sometimes I feel bad and feel the need to buy something from the vendors whose goods I take pictures of. Spice stalls:

The spices here are so cheap, so I got 8 different spices for R$12 ($7!). I couldn't help myself - I'm like a kid in a candy store when it comes to spices. You can probably read the labels and understand what they are.

Guarana to add to drinks for a caffeine boost, garam masala because it was so cheap, cinnamon sticks for the same reason, as well as fennel, bacon soup mix because adding that to sautéed veggies will make them taste delicious (in my opinion), pink peppercorns just because, and powdered spinach and beets as coloring agents for ice creams and baked goods.

Some other market scenes:

On a side note, it’s in such a sketch area, that when I walked out trying to find a taxi, I had no idea where to go and hoped that I would be OK. And then I saw a taxi stand with one taxi. And again, they start speaking me to in Portuguese, I say “INGLESSSS, fala ingles?” they say “nao” and then continue speaking to me in Portuguese. Sigh. But at least this taxi driver said things I kind of recognized, as in he pointed out sites to me like Praca de Se and the cathedral there, and the MASP.

And I just thought this was funny and accurately described what I was after I finished eating and shopping:

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