Posts Tagged ‘market’

A Delhi Market

February 16, 2012 2 comments

Having only recently returned from an almost a year long trip around S America and Asia, I came back to Delhi this week to attend my cousin Hina’s wedding. Coming to Delhi is always a pleasure, with the sights, sounds and especially tastes to behold.

My cousin Disha and me

As is the case, the wedding attracted a number of long-lost relatives from around the world. This time around I met a cousin, Disha, who I hadn’t seen for a number of years after she moved to Michigan, US. We hit it off immediately and spent an excellent time together.

Indian weddings are not only a drawn out affair, but also generally quite badly organised from the outset. The upshot of that is that there is a hive of activity just before the wedding week starts. I arrived at the start of this and with Disha, was sent out to a number of errands. One of these was to a bustling market in Delhi called Lajpat Nagar.

There is nothing you can’t buy at the Lajpat Nagar market. Indeed, much of wedding shopping from dresses to flowers to ceremonial paraphernalia is bought here. Shops, stalls and walking vendors compete for space and customers. Street food is dotted around so buyers aren’t left hungry or thirsty.

Of the most interesting things I was offered as I walked through the streets with Disha were:

1. A Washing Machine Cover – In India, washing machines are now popular and Dhobis are unfortunately going out of business. As there isn’t a dedicated space for a washing machine in the home, these are often placed in the sitting or bed rooms. In order to disguise an ugly thing, the Indians devised a pretty embroidered cover which sits at the top and converts the top of the washing machine into a useful table!

2. Narra – A long flat rope used for tying the tops of Indian trousers (pyjamas) and petticoats to your waist.

I didn’t have a need for either of the above but it did make me smile!

Categories: India, Shopping Tags: , , ,

Dan Sinh in the aisles!

May 9, 2011 3 comments

The US Navy watch bought at the market!

Someone told us there was another market a few minutes away from Ben Thanh Market which had a number of surplus stores with lots of ex-military clothing and paraphernalia. This obviously piqued a particular fellow traveller’s interest so we went along, crossing highways with mad traffic and snaking our way through the narrow alleyways with little daylight filtering through into south of De Tham. All around Dan Sinh market are specialist stores selling thick wires, electrical cables and all sorts of other similar things that I don’t know the names of.

We found a tiny entrance way into the market and jumped in and luckily we found ourselves at the right end of it as we were surrounded by military green. At one point I though I’d lost Craig but dressed in his favourite colour green, he blended into all the camouflage around us.  There were medals and belts; flasks and canteens; hats and boots; helmets and swiss army knives. There were lots of uniforms – mainly US but also some Viet Cong. Many had a red or a yellow star on them.

Craig found a tiny stall with some old US navy watches and we looked through, deciding on one, haggling and then walking away. Usually there will be lots of vendors selling the same thing but when we looked, we found only one other stall selling old watches and they quoted twice the price we started at the other stall. Tails between our legs, we returned to haggle further and if not to our original target, I got her down to halfway between her last quoted and our target. They know when you return for something that you really want it! Procurement skills always fall by the wayside when you have an eager-to-buyspouse in tow I guess! He is very happy with his new purchase and even has his strap from the old Marines days belted into it!

The teetering crates

February 14, 2011 1 comment

People in Buenos Aires tend to shop locally and at independent shops. For food, I am happy to report that the porteños have yet to give in to supermarkets. Supermarkets do exist, there is a Jumbo for example which as the name suggests is a hypermarket where you can buy anything from cheese to chihuawawas. The french supermarket Carrefour is testing the water with a number of stores around the capital and some local supermarkets such as DISCO have opened a few stores mainly in the upmarket areas such as Palermo.

But the average porteño goes to his local Chinese shop or local butcher, fruit & veg man (Verdularia) or bakery. The chinese mini-markets are popular and plenty. There is at least one in every street. You don’t have to walk more than 5 minutes to come across one. Evidently their prices are often better than the supermarkets as they probably have some sort of a cartel buying in bulk.

The local Chinese mini-markets always have a small space in the front which they sublet as a Verduleria. As fruit & veg is quite a different commodity to refrigerated, frozen, canned, bottled varieties of stuff, I assume they want to keep it separate. In the heat of Buenos Aires the fruit and vegetables, which are mostly organic go off much more quickly and I wonder whether this is the reason that they sublet this part of the business to someone else.

Almost always, the mini-markets’ staff are Chinese but the Verdulerio is a porteño. Unlike the UK supermarkets, there isn’t a huge variety of fruits and vegetables available, but that’s because people here still eat seasonally. The Verdulerio has a small space in which to operate from as he basically has the entrance to the mini-market so it needs to be clear for customers to walk in and out.  All day the Verdulerio must tend to his fruit and vegetables and make sure they look fresh. This means he has to peel and throw out the browning outer layers of lettuces; he has to pick out the dying stalks from the bunches of herbs; and he has to turn the rotting tomatoes so they all look perfect in the crate.

The lack of space and a constant stream of people buying the fruit and vegetables means that the Verdulerio must replenish his stock often. Outside every mini-market you will find fruit and veg crates piled up and teetering seductively at each passerby, inviting them to dare touch in case they all topple over!

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