Books Worth a Look

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave - This book is a must read. Better than anything else I've read, it takes you vividly into the life of a person in the 3rd world who has no choice but to escape. It is brilliantly written & works well as an audio book. Often I've sent info about the wonderful refugees I've met in Europe. We know only so much of their plight as it is painful for them to recall much less live through again by recounting it. But over time it is clear what they've lived through. This book is excellent as you discover the horrors of their world. Somewhat how to me, it is like being in Europe near a Concentration Camp. One has an obligation to visit it. 'Never to Forget.' In this case, to have our eyes opened.
  • Garbage King by Eliz Laird - The book is set on the streets on Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia and here lives Mamo and his sister Tiggist. When Mamo's "uncle" offers a job, he soon sets out on a bus to work. Little does he know that he is actually being sold into slavery...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

At the Outdoor Market in Antigua

In the western end of Antigua (a small city about 10-12 blocks square) there is an outdoor market that rivals any I've seen. It has almost everything - well except large applicances like washing machines!

You can purchase: T shirts, soccer shirts, sports shirts, pants, blouses, dresses, socks, underwear (a nice pairt of socks goes for 63 cents. no you do not bargiain that!) shoes, umbrellas, nails, hardware, tools, watches, alarm clocks, fresh fruits, vegetables, freshly slaughtered chickens - no salted grasshoppers though as in Oaxaca, Mexico!

There is a constant buzz. Kids, older ladies & men walking with heavy bundles roving to sell - calling out. Individual booths line each aisle.

You are struck with how every available inch is used. If you've been to Lexington Market in Baltimore, you know the size of the aisles - well except some here are narrower.

Turning one corner, I stood next to neatly stacked home items: sponges, huggies :-) cleaners, & much more. It all was packed tightly & reached to about 6 feet in height.

Imagine 4 phone booths arranged to make a square. Within that space (taking the phone booths away!) there are chairs with people happily sitting enjoying a freshly made fruit drink.

You can sit many places & enjoy freshly cooked food. It's best for us not to do so as food is likely not prepared with purified water.

The price of fresh food, nails & similar items is not negotiable, but ALL else is. You quickly learn how to negotiate. If a camisa (sports shirt) is selling for 95 Q almost $ 12, you begin with say 35 or 40Q = $4.50 - $5.00. Now some may refuse to pay more than one half the asking price. To me that's a tad greedy as these are not rich people, not even close. So perhaps a 95Q asking price for say from 55 - 65 depending. Negotiations are done in good faith - be prepared to walk away saying, no gracias. You'll always get another lower price. Oh yes, it is most important that you know well - how to say & understand spoken Spanish for numerals from 30 - 120 !

1 comment:

Luxury Traveler said...

It would be great to explore the Blue Waters of Antigua too.


Thoughts on the amazing people I get to meet.

Rich, my 19 year old friend, soon to be Franciscan and recent community member at Haley House in Boston. An article he wrote.