Here in Punta Gorda, Belize we have the open air market at least 5 days a week. The vendors are usually at their stalls from early in the morning, (and I can’t tell you how early because I am never up that early.) I just know that the market usually finishes by noon. One or two stragglers stay to catch the late shoppers like myself. So this week I decided to try to get there relatively early, and was there by 10 a.m.
The streets were busy, but I have seen them more crowded. Maybe this is attributed to it being the low season for tourism here in Belize. There definitely weren’t as many vehicles on the streets as I have seen in the past and in my opinion this is a good thing. Front Street is a narrow street to start with and with the market and an abundance of people cars are just an additional hazard. However, in the time I have been here I have not seen, nor have I heard of any problems arising associated with the vehicular traffic. I live fairly close to the market and with Front Street being a one-way street I am sure I would have heard of something.
Now you may ask, if the market runs 5 or 6 day why would I have a market day? The answer is simple – I work in my office in the morning, from 9 until noon generally where I encourage drop-in visitors to ask real estate related questions or just to sit and visit with me. By the time my office hours are done so is the market so I need to make a determined effort to get what I need at least on Saturday.
I pack up my re-usable bag, which hasn’t caught on here at all yet, and away I go. While the clouds looked like they were going to open up on us at any time, they didn’t. It turned out to be quite a sunny day and it didn’t rain at all.
I make my way down the street, greeting and chatting with people I know and saying hello to people I don’t. The market is a place to see people, to meet people as well as to find the freshest produce around. I had one lady come up to me and ask if I was the “real estate lady”.
So now comes the best part – what did I get? 24 BZ ($12 US) bought me a lot of fruits and vegetables (values approximate for cucumbers, onion, cabbage, cause I can’t remember how many pounds each was). I got:
- 7 bananas – 1.00 – didn’t put all in the picture because the pile was falling over
- 5 oranges – 1.00 – no room on tray for the oranges
- 5 onions – 5.00
- 2 cucumbers – 6.00
- 3 carrots – 2.00
- 1 cabbage – 3.00
- 1 plantain – .50
- 3 tomatoes – expensive at $3.50 lb – rainy season reduces yield
- 12 kenips – 2.00
- 5 limes – 1.00
As I had some ground steak defrosting in the fridge the first thing I did was take some of these yummy vegetables and make stew. Then I tried one of the kenips. These fruits look like small limes and are about 1″ in diameter. The inside is kind of squishy stringy texture that is slightly tart in flavour. The seed is quite large for the size of the fruit. The flavour and the texture are definitely different from anything I had eaten before. When I asked the stall vendor about them she just broke it open and showed the insides – just eat the pulp off the seed. There isn’t much pulp at all and it is a lot of work for such a small reward. But now I know. And that is part of the appeal of being in a new place with new foods and new activities to be experienced!