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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

The Market

I woke up on Wednesday just like any other morning, but I could not have been more wrong.  After a lovely breakfast of bread, jam, and a strawberry milkshake, my host mom, Dulia, started frantically collecting all the bags she had and a little cart, too.  I went to my room to get ready for the day when Dulia asked what time I had to be at class, when she realized I had 2 hours free, she asked if I would like to go to the market.  Within minutes of agreeing, we were cramming into a taxi.  And when I say taxi, I mean a three wheeled cart with about enough room for 2 small people.

As soon as we were at the market Dulia was running around talking to everyone and getting all the fruits and veggies for the rest of the week.  Not only was she moving so qucikly I could barely keep up, but also she was rattling off a mix Spanish and Quechua along with a little English for me mixed in.

As for buying the food, Dulia did not take just any food.  When someone tried to sell her bruised apples, she just dumped them out and moved on.  Another person tried to give her ripe bananas and she just walked around until she found others to her liking, so they could ripen in her house.

After the fruits we moved on to veggies.  When Dulia was buying onions some mom spanked her child and Dulia took matters in to her own hands.  Quickly telling the mom, she is only a child and you will regret it one day. After that we moved on to another vendor for the squash I made a new friend, Sammy.  Because I was the only blonde in the entire market and also the tallest person (I could see across the whole market), she was a little timid but after I squatted down we became friends.  As soon as I walked away she followed me to make sure I met her plastic bear, Oso, before I left.

Before I knew it, the shopping was complete and I was told to wait at the entrance for Dulia to get another taxi.  I was then charged with packing everything into the small cart, and basically I ended up with a dozen eggs and a squash on my lap while Dulia had the entire cart full of fruit on hers.  Once we got home we unloaded the taxi and I left for class. All said it was about an hour of shopping, but I learned so much.  I cannot wait for next week when we go at 5 am because apparently it will be cheaper!