Yucatan, Mexico: Native Indian Marketplace — Johnny Monsarrat Mexico Trip

On Sundays, the Merida area hosts a huge market where locals sell crafts, clothing, housewares, and food. The preparation for the marketplace begins the night before with the vendors setting up for the following day. Streets are blocked off to make the market a safe destination for pedestrians. A wide variety of goods are available, and it’s a popular weekend destination for many people in the area.

The Sunday morning of our trip, our guide Jorge took us to the market. Merida as a whole is becoming a prominent place for tourists to visit, and the market takes advantage of this. Local Mayans set up booths to sell their creations, some of which might appeal to visitors from outside Mexico. But the market isn’t solely for tourists, and it isn’t the type of market visitors from the US might envision. The whole place is full of people and is a great representation of the real Mexico rather than the Mexico usually presented to tourists.

When we went, the market was extremely crowded, but we were able to get around and see some interesting goods—and people. We were astonished at the array of things for sale. Some of the clothing and housewares were beautiful. Other booths were run by vendors cooking various food to sell to visitors, and still others had fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat available. Despite everything we could have bought, we were reluctant to eat or drink anything there because of concerns about health and sanitation. In Mexico, it’s important for visitors to be very careful about what they have for food and beverages.

One of the beverages for sale that appeared intriguing was “horchata”. There’s a picture below of a woman selling old soda bottles full of this drink, which is made from rice and mixed with cinnamon and sugar or honey. As with the other food and drink, we decided not to risk trying it. Just the fact that it is contained in bottles that once held soda was a bit disconcerting. The bottles must have been washed before the horchata was added, but even that wouldn’t necessarily prevent us from becoming ill, just as we might have with any beverage during our trip.

As we wandered through the marketplace, we saw a lot of interesting items for sale. Amy found the hats particularly appealing and enjoyed trying them on, and she ended up buying one to bring home.

Sunday morning, Jorge takes us to a marketplace outside
Merida. Indians from local villages come to sell produce, meat, hats,
handmade crafts, basically everything. It's crowded.
Johnny Monsarrat: Fresh vegetables outside the m
Fresh vegetables outside the meat market
Johnny Monsarrat: Amy's buying a hat. We're a li
Amy's buying a hat. We're a little afraid about trying any of the food or drink, for health reasons.
Johnny Monsarrat: This lady is selling 'horchata
This lady is selling 'horchata', a frothy light brown drink sold in old soda bottles. It's a drink made from rice, very thick like syrup. You mix with with cinnamon and sugar (or honey). Not for gringos like us who worry about Montezuma's Revenge.
Johnny Monsarrat: Plenty of religious icons. Gue
Plenty of religious icons. Guess who's in the middle of the yellow 'star rays'.

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