Joco Tianguis, part whatever

I know you haven’t heard from me for a long time, but just wanted to reassure you that following that scorpion sting….or whatever it was….I’m still alive, although it still hurts me to type for any length of time. 

About half my friends down here seem to think that I did NOT get stung by a scorpion.  They all say that they’ve never seen the residual effects that I have had.  However, they have not ever had to deal with a delicate flower like myself, so perhaps that’s why my aftereffects seem to be lingering for so long. 

But I shall rise above this, as I have risen above the burning of Atlanta [yes, I truly do see myself as Scarlett O’Hara sometimes], and go on with my virtuous life. 

And speaking of virtue….because although I digress often, I NEVER digress from my virtue…let me tell you what’s going on in Joco with me these days.  [Okay, wait, I digress from my virtue all the time….or at least I did in my younger days, but these days I am pretty much pure as the driven snow!  Although I’m not sure what driven snow is and how it could be a sign of virtue.] 

Nonetheless, I gotta tell you about my next few steps about getting my ass into heaven.  Okay, wait, I think my ass is already on the path, but me, not so much.  [Sorry, sorry, the picture above from the tianguis made me say that!]

Somehow, I recently got suckered into being a donor to an old folks’ home in Jocotepec and to an orphanage in Chapala for the upcoming holiday season.  I’m not begrudging anybody anything, I’m just not sure how this happened…although I do believe that alcohol was involved, at least on my part, if not on the part of the orphans. 

Oh, well, I’ve done a lot worse under the influence, so I’m totally gonna go with this!  And by “this” I mean buying gifts for the ancianos [Spanish for old folks] and orfinks [barbspeak for orphans].  

And where better to buy gifts for these old folks and young’uns, as well as things for myself, than at the Joco tianguis where things are inexpensive and the pickings are pretty great??  So last week my friend Kathi and I set off to shop there.  And, boy, did we find some good deals!

The first thing we stumbled across was a guy selling poblano chiles out of of the back of his pickup.  People selling things out of the back of their vehicles instead of at a stationary stall usually means two things:  they have a limited supply; and the stuff is really fresh.  Like maybe picked that morning. 

He was charging 10 pesos for a big bag of them.  Even by Jocotepec standards, that’s pretty darn cheap.  With visions of chilies rellenos dancing in our heads, Kathi and I just had to buy a bag to share.   Okay, okay, not share with the old folks or the orphans, but divide between ourselves.  The bags were already tied up and ready to go, so we just grabbed one, paid the equivalent of 80 cents US, shoved the chiles in my recycled shopping bag, and took off. 

We should have known how good a deal we got when we saw that about every tenth person at the tianguis had the same type of bag of poblano chiles.  But it was only when we got back to my house to divide up the bag that we discovered that for 80 cents we had purchased 17 chiles!  And good sized ones, at that:

So, five cents buys me this!  Whoo hoo!   And, yes, I see that my fingers are a little “dirty.”  But, truly, they are not!  That’s just the remainder of a little dipping sauce from lunch at one of the local Chinese restaurants that day!  You know, the part that the napkin won’t reach and that I hadn’t quite gotten around to licking off my fingers. 

But lest you think we had, Kathi and I had NOT forgotten the needy and when we ran into a woman selling slightly used clothing, we were all over it!  I came away with a lovely handknitted little cape for 40 pesos [about $3.00US] and Kathi came away with a sweater that cost the same.  See how cool looking the capelet is???

If I was an old lady, I would totallly wear this!  Oh, wait, I AM an old lady!  So I should know! 

Now you might think that Kathi and I are tightwads for purchasing slightly used goods.  But we’re not.  Well, okay, maybe we are.  But there truly is a rationale for that.  The thing is that handmade clothing is gonna last a whole lot longer and it’s likely that nobody is gonna wanna “borrow” these capelets and sweaters from the ancianos.  These items serve their purpose…i.e. keep an oldster warm….but  generally don’t appeal to the younger set.  So, honestly, we really are buying something that the ancianos can use.   And by only spending $3.00US, we can buy a whole lot more!

But, to return to our voyage of discovery, on Kathi and I went through the tianguis.  Dodging small children who have a tendency to flop themselves down in the middle of the walkways and young mothers with stollers.  Trying to deal with walking on the uneven cobblestone street and not trip over the topes [speedbumps designed to slow down the vehicular traffic that normally travels this route].  I’m telling ya, foks, walking through the two or three blocks of the tianguis and back is not for the faint of heart nor the weak of ankle! 

But it can be worth it when you come across something you’ve been looking for.  In my case, cute socks!  Yeah, because old ladies always are cold; right?  They’d love some socks!  But, you know, in my opinion, cute socks.  Like these!

As you can see, I got three packs of them, wth three pairs in each pack.  Cost to me?  15 pesos a pack.  So that’s 5 pesos per pair…or 38 cents a pair US.  What a deal!  I would have purchased more, but these were the only ‘cute’ ones they had.  But I’ll betcha that next week at the tianguis they’ll have more! 

I didn’t find much more for my old folks that day, but I did find more for me!  Got myself some onions and some carrots….5 pesos for a kilo for each.  That’s 38 cents US for 2.2 pounds!  Top that, folks! 

The next day, with my purchases, I made myself some chicken stew.  Bought myself a  rather expensive whole chicken [$4.83US], added my carrots and onions and my cheap, cheap chopped veggies from the tianguis,

and had myself a swell meal with lots of leftovers!

But, truly, even though we bought a lot of stuff for ourselves, Kathi and I and our friend Jonnie are now seriously on the search for regalos [gifts] for the ancianos AND for the orfinks!  I’ll keep you posted on how our search goes!


About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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3 Responses to Joco Tianguis, part whatever

  1. Jonnie Harker says:

    Barb was nice enough to share 5 of her chilis with me and I made chili rellenos last night. Yum, Yum. Thanks Barb!!! Oh yeah, and I got some of the carrots and onions too!!! What a haul!! Can’t wait to go and find tops (as in spinning) for our two orfink boys!!!

  2. joe jensen says:

    Damn Barb, with that first pic and paragraph, I thought you were gonna take us on a trip to slutland. Maybe next time?……..;)

  3. Gigi says:

    Tianguis! Great entertainment and photos! No better place to shop, that’s for sure.

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