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Cooperation

One of the "restaurant areas".

One of the “restaurant areas”.

This morning I was in the public market in Sololá. It’s bigger than in Panajachel and tends to have more non-food items. For example, you can find radios and DVD players. Unlike the market in Pana which is mostly open area, in Sololá it is a combination of many different areas. I am sure that is because it has evolved over many years. It would not be a problem once you spent a day drawing yourself a map but it is difficult when you just want to spend 15 minutes looking for X and Y.

Unlike the market in Pana, you are not going to find many Gringos there. I was clearly the outsider — not in the way I was treated but just because I was not an indigenous woman. In any case, I had left Pana before breakfast and decided to find a comedor to eat. There are lots, also scattered in different areas. I finally found one in the area where I took the photo and ate a typical breakfast.

While I was eating a young woman (maybe 16) came in with a basket of melons and tried to sell them to the people working there. This is where the cooperation part comes in.

While they may have seen her around at some other time, it was clear that she was just a vendor passing by rather than friends or family. After they told her no to the melon sales pitch, she asked if she could borrow a knife. (This is the kind of place where the kitchen has one knife.) The woman in the kitchen picked up the knife she had been using, wiped it off (no, there is no running water in the kitchen — they wash dishes in a sink down the hall) and gave it to the melon vendor. The vendor then cut herself some chunks of melon, return the knife and sat down to eat part of a melon and watch the telenovela on the TV.

I am pretty used to this after 12+ years in Central America but for some reason this reminded me that you would not see this happening back in the US. It was cooperation. It was just people interacting.

One of the sections with lots of dead animal for sale.

One of the sections with lots of dead animal for sale.

I did, by the way, make a mistake in talking to the waitress. One that I have previously warned you against. After I sat down she came over and spouted off the list of available food. Or, more accurately, the types of dead animals that were available which included chicken and cow. I mistakenly said “no como carne”. She dropped the cow from her list and repeated the chicken. My error. Beef is meat but chicken is not meat. I explained what I did want and all was well.

For the meat photo I wanted the one with a pig leg (from the knee down) but people kept getting in my way when I tried to take that picture.

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