Antigua can often seem like a Disneyworld themed attraction. The ruins, shops, bars/restaurants, and the tourists can make it feel as if you are not actually in Guatemala. But head to the edge of town and you are quickly immersed in the everyday hustle and bustle of life in a typical Latin American city.
My bi-weekly market trips are something of a mix between excitement and apprehension. Walking into the market can be overwhelming at times. It is either a treat or a thorough overload of your senses, which is completely dependent on your mood that day. From the noise of vendors hawking their wares and yelling their prices, to weaving through the gauntlet of crowds in the small isles, the market is its own microcosm of teaming organisms.
With that said, I try and go early in the morning when the vendors have just started uncovering their goods for the buyers’ eyes. The mornings are the best. I can easily navigate the narrow alleyways and can casually browse each vendor's offerings without the hollering and pestering.
Like with anything in life, you acquire your favorite vendors and develop a tight bond of loyalty. I head inside the market’s fruit and vegetable section and dart straight to my senorita to whom I have pledged my patronage. I know I am most likely getting Gringa prices, but at least they are not entirely blatant about nickel and diming me. I buy as much as my bag (and shoulders) can manage, then set my sights on marking off the lingering items left on my grocery list. I usually get a bundle of flowers at the market. For 20 Q ($ 2.50) it would be blasphemy to not have fresh flowers in my house.
I then navigate my way out of the market’s maze until I find some sunlight to guide my way home.
A trip to the market is a must do when visiting Antigua. One gets the opportunity to see where Guatemalans do their shopping of all sorts. It is a unique experience to observe the way a transaction is made between buyer and seller. And it is a beautiful sight to see the colorfully displayed fruits and vegetables.