This is a city scene from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, right in front of the entrance to the Central Market. The crowd are a real mix of locals and tourists, as were the visitors inside the Market. San Jose feels like any other modern city in Latin America but as you enter the Mercado Central you are taken back in time.
Inside I was transported back to the souks of Cairo. There was a smell of spices and produce yet it was very clean. Grocers, clothes shops, spice stalls, florists fish sellers and butchers. What a sensory treat! Tourist shops sold handicrafts but most of the stalls were for locals getting their daily shopping. As a child, I went shopping with Nana to similar stores where the local produce was in crates with handwritten price tickets. I loved visiting the farmer’s stall just outside Rutherglen but was less keen on the chickens with all their feathers on. Nana plucked the feathers in the bath and re-stuffed our old pillows. That’s sustainability, old style.
Is there anything more joyful than a brightly painted mural? This one had a volcano, waterfall, parrots and toucans – perfectly illustrating the essence of Costa Rica.
This store is 10 years older than me…wow! The sign says that it has been selling bulk products since 1950. Notice that the customer and the assistant are both wearing masks.
A tourist shop to lure us in. We briefly looked around a couple of them but they were tight (for people with big cameras and rucksacks). In any case, I have already Swedish Death Cleaned the house and there is no room for any more trinkets. We brought back delicious creamy fudge stuffed with glace fruits.
This is my favorite scene in the market. A beautiful statue of Jesus right next to the butcher’s shop. I thoroughly approve of faith being part of one’s daily life. As much as I love beautifully decorated churches, they keep faith in a separate place. Costa Ricans have many public works of art which I will display in a future post (and a cathedral because I can’t resist).
The visit to the market made me giddy with happiness. It brought back memories, gave me new ones to reflect on and gave a genuine feel for San Jose’s inhabitants.