A quick poke around any shoestring travel guide or budget-savvy blog will tell you that one of the simplest and most rewarding pleasures in a new country consists of nothing more than wandering around the local market and getting a flavour (sometimes literally) of what local life is all about. Best of all, this can cost you precisely nothing, unless of course you get tempted and end up buying several carrier bags of Mexican sweeties….but we never get tempted by that sort of thing, obviously.
Guadalajara has one of the largest covered markets in Mexico, and is an important centre of commerce in the city. We spent a happy afternoon bargaining and admiring the handicrafts, but not before enjoying a fabulous lunch in one of the many cheap eateries and being inspired by the wide range of fruit and veggies (and cacti) on offer. The best thing about these mishmash-type places is that each country, each town, each market offers an entirely different experience, from being confronted by anything from cows’ noses in Bolivia (a blog post for another day) to children’s toys and clown puppets, ladies’ lingerie and kitchen utensils, bugs, pets, and water balloons.
Next time you’re abroad and have had your fill of tourist tat (which by the way, will always have a special place in my heart), have a wander round the market the locals use and absorb some local culture. You never know what you may see…what’s your best ever market find?