Thursday, February 23, 2006
When I arrived the next morning she was ready with her basket and we walked several blocks to a big market that covered a square block, both inside and outside a large open building. That’s Chela in the black and white shirt.
Chela hit the market like a woman on a mission. She seemed to know each of the vendors and greeted them warmly, as Ecuadoreans do, before getting down to it. Then she was all business, squeezing, sniffing, accepting or rejecting fruits, vegetables, meat; politely, but firmly insisting on their best price. The basket grew heavier and heavier.
I was fascinated by the bags of different grains, the variety of beans and vegetables I had never seen before.
Inside the market there was a large section devoted to fresh meat. Chela bought pork for the tamales and fresh shrimp for ceviche.
The woman in the stall with the colorful bottles of soda pop was frying llapingachos, which are fried patties of mashed potato with cheese inside—delicious! After I took her picture she handed me a llapingacho and a piece of the roast pork you see, on a paper napkin. She gave Chela a similar sample and we left the market happily enjoying our treats.