Sunday, November 04, 2007

A visit to the Market in Cartagena

One morning we changed the normal direction of our walk and crossed over the bridge to the "new" section of the city. This is where most people live in Cartagena and the location of the huge public market. It is possible to buy ANYTHING here. Saturday is the busiest day of the week and although it was early, the place was packed. Some sections were very like a small mall, with tiled walkways and glass cases. Other sections were mud floored, narrow and dificult to negotiate. This is a warren of alleys and easy to get disoriented. In between the stores and produce/meat
sellers are food vendors of all kinds. "Fish Heads, fish heads, jolly, jolly fish heads..." was the opening line of a favorite kid's song of ours" and very appropriate here. This gentleman shown in the picture is enjoying an early morning one for breakfast. I had a paella one lunch with a fish head (and some fish attached) as one of the many seafoods represented.
Most people enjoy a deep fried pastry of some kind for breakfast (and who wouldn't?) but at the market meats of all kinds were also being cooked and enjoyed. These are all VERY well done and exercise your jaw considerably. A nice accompaniment to our usual arepa huevo (fine corn meal pastry with an whole egg and a mixture of meat and potatoes inside - all deep fried) is a fresh fruit salad.
The vendor cuts up a variety of fresh fruits in front of you and piles them up on a paper plate. You can indicate which ones you like best, tasting some if you need to make a tough decision. This is good chance to try some new fruit! Scott favorite vendor stand is the fresh orange juice option. The oranges are squeezed right into your glass and it is wonderful. It's hard to believe that people pay twice as much for coke! We bought some buttoned shirts and shorts for our two youngest sons at a very trendy shop on the edge of the market. This market extends for five NYC city blocks square, solid with shops and vendors.

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