Friday, December 16, 2005

Que tu Quieres?

Well. Time has passed quickly and yet another crazy Christmas season is upon us here in Mexico City. The streets are plugged with all manner of stalls and crowds of people shopping for presents. As for me, I've been sick and my nose has been plugged with all manner of mucus flows. I caught what I would consider a fairly normal winter cold and was in bed for a coupla days, but upon recovery I contracted yet another flu-like sickness which lasted for another week of snotty achy misery. It's been a terrible month for my blown and battered nostrils and it seems like I haven't smelled anything for ages. At least my appetites back and I'm fully on the road to recovery.

I went to the Centro De Abastos a few weeks ago with Bernie. The Centro De Abastos, if not by sheer volume of stuff sold, then by it's massive expanse is one of the biggest markets in the world. It lies in the far reaches of the city near the Airport and is simply a conglomeration of hundreds, maybe thousands, of wearhouses, loading docks, and trucks.

Practically all the edible goods that come into Mexico City come through this place where they are re-distributed to the stores and restaurants in the city. It resembles a gigantic, prison or underground parking garage. It has it's own police force, banks, and food vendors. Inside are causeways full of men with palate jacks, carts and dollys literally running from place to place loaded with boxes of stuff.

You can shop here like a regular housekeeper, but most of the sellers are interested only in bulk purchases. As you walk around you notice whole wear-houses full of limes, or oranges, or even piƱatas. Men barter in front of walls of onions and towers of spinach.

The halls seem to go on forever; and this is just the produce section. There is a whole other building for the fresh and frozen fish. There is a flower market. There are dry goods, wet goods, spilled goods everywhere, rats probably gorging themselves somewhere, and most of all there is a never-ending sense of urgency as everything must go as soon as possible to hit the streets where again it will be hawked to the likes of me before the lettuce wilts and the papayas turn.

The market begins to receive at 3AM I'm told and it goes non-stop until 3PM when things start to die down. It's a pretty crazy but interesting place.