Monday, November 22, 2004
We went shopping in this endless neighborhood called La Lagunilla. It's a poor part of town and houses one of the biggest markets I've ever seen. It goes on forever in seemingly every direction and it's labyrinthian passages are completely packed with athletic clothing, cross trainers, party clothes, and trinkets mostly from Asia. The goods seem to be of the it-fell-off-the-truck or the last-months-fashion variety, but the prices are cheap. There are many food stalls as well. Deep fat friers mingle in cramped spaces with racks of Diesel jeans and cheap wedding dresses while salsa blasts out of tinny plastic radios. It was an adventure for the first hour or so and then as fatigue set in, I felt like it was a prison. Everywhere I turned, there was more stuff and beyond that more and more. I was lost in this maze of stuff. It was that kind of shopping where there's so much stuff that you can't really make a decision unless you know exactly what you want. I prefer the smaller markets that dot Mexico City where you can at least escape for a breath of fresh air. It's pretty amazing though. It's weird to see an old man propped up on a dusty street behind a chip-board wall of plastic J-lo sunglasses and New Balance sneakers in contrast to the glitz of someplace like Footlocker with it's TV walls and hip-hop soundtrack. I realized what Naomi Klein has been (supposedly) telling me for years, that so much of what shopping is about isn't the product itself, but the process of buying it. On the way home we saw some business guy get t-boned by a bus in his toyota, which is happens so constantly here that the traffic barely paused in response, and merely flowed around his car without hesitation. Luckily, the guy seemed uninjured and the bus stopped which I'm told doesn't always happen.