Friday, August 11, 2006

Colors of Guatemala´s Markets

Saludos Seño. Check Guatemala´s latest pictures HERE

Guatemala is a country filled with colors. Right after our second day in the city, we decided to visit the capital’s Central Market in Zona 1. We were amaze at what we saw: A whole range in colors depicted in fruits and vegetables. Similarly beautiful were the colors of the dresses of the Mayan women who sell these products. Colors and odors is an experience you don’t want to miss in the country’s capital, a little taste of its amazing cultural and natural diversity.

This market, where the picture was taken, is located right in front the cathedral, which lies next to the presidential palace. One advantage of this particular market is that you’ll get the Guatemalan price as this part of the city is not frequented by tourists, who avoid it given the bad reviews of guide books. Usually, tourist are given a premium in the pricing of goods, specially crafts, so bargain is a good practice to get used to. Although crime tends to be higher in this part of the city, there is a comprehensive effort to better Zone 1, the centre of the city. The goal is to take advantage of the flow of tourist who usually set off directly towards Antigua.

Markets in Guatemala are the economic engine of the country. Though many consider this as informal economy, the contributions to the country’s growth and welfare are very significant. Central Markets are very complex indeed. They usually involve several players linked between the producer and the consumer. The Mayan lady I bought my vegetable to told me that she buys the produce from three farms in her community. She also sells to bulk buyers who go to upscale parts of the city or supply to restaurants making some profit. In other words, when you buy at the market, the produce has already gone through many hands.

That’s not to worry as this translates into employment. Guatemala as most Central American countries suffers of two-digit unemployment rate. Yet, agriculture infrastructure developed for winter markets in the U.S and Europe, along with money from the tourists industry and, unfortunately, drug trade, are employing more people than ever.
Check the recently uploaded pictures of Guatemala HERE. Also stay tuned for some videos.

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