Larisa and I went into the city of Cali one day to buy some fruit, veggies and souvenirs. Our guide, Magnolia, took us to several different markets, but I believe because of our pasty white faces, the prices were inflated. There’s not much bartering in Colombia. You pretty well pay what they ask. The displays of fruit were completely mouth-watering. The variety was unbelievable and of such great quality. We didn’t recognize half of them, but we were more than willing to try them! Delicioso!
We stopped on the street and looked at many fruit stands, but my camera discouraged the venders from selling to us. The prices all seemed really cheap to me, but our guide said they were too expensive! She took us to a little shop that maybe offered 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables. They were fresh from the fields or trees and they had not been cleaned. I felt like I was shopping out of the actual garden. Dirt was everywhere! But the prices were posted, so they wouldn’t be raised for us Gringos!
The three of us picked a large supply of potatoes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, tree tomatoes, bananas, pineapple, guava, grapes, cucumbers, oranges, avocados, lulos and more that I can’t remember at this moment. As we brought the goods up to the counter to be weighed and bagged, another shopper brought up a huge green gourd and asked if the shop owner would open it for her. Mr. Veggie Man was a handsome gentleman probably in his early 30s. His two beautiful sons helped him in the shop. They all donned smock-type shirts, like a dental assistant would wear…. with dirt all over them from the produce. Nice people. Back to the gourd… Mr Veggie Man reaches into his faded orange smock and whips out a 12 inch machete and chops the gourd in half right in front of us in one fell swoop. I’m sure our mouths were hanging open in shock….. the hairy chest… the machete… and quick action…. and dirt flying from the gourd….the unsanitariness of it all (if that’s a word?) Larisa reminded me of the whole scene yesterday and we scrunched up our faces once again at the memory. We’ll wash our own fruit, thank you very much, and we don’t need it cut open.
Our collection of food was stuffed into five large plastic bags that we could barely carry…. and our total was $4.00. I love Colombia!