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We went to the largest market in Latin America and saw maybe only a quarter of it. We were really fortunate to go with our friends, Valerie and Clay, who have experience and bearings on what parts of the market we should see. It was so nice to have extra adults to wrangle the kiddos. We spent about 3 hours total in the market. It was so interesting! When we were in Ecuador, we went to a really large market and left feeling dazed and overwhelmed. This market was more enjoyable in that the halls were wider, the items being sold more interesting, and the time of day was more ideal with not too many people. It's kind of mind blowing, how does everything get sold? We're starting to reach a point of anxiety (for me) about transporting our goods home and so we didn't buy much. Plus, I have too many experiences where I've bought something and not really used it like I thought I would. Anyways, I did a buy a maraca for Maeve. It's nice for her to have something to hold while she's on my back. And I found itty bitty panties for her too, we had to double back for those! I'm not potty training her yet, but she's showing signs of readiness. I'll probably cry when I'm no longer changing diapers. Also bought Maeve shoes... so maybe I wasn't being honest when I said I didn't buy much? I bought lots of Mexican buntings because I love it. And I found a sweater for my niece... Qué más? Holly and Greta have spending money and they bought a few trinkets too. Greta's really into buying gum and treats. 

Everything at this market was much cheaper (everything - food, textiles, etc!) than at 20 de Noviembre. Obviously it's a bit of a beast, but the next time I'm in Oaxaca, I plan on wondering around here more! 

A couple notes about the pictures... all the jeans are displayed with the peaches outwards. Makes  me laugh every time! The live animals... oh gosh, some of those chickens were looking rough! I cropped those out. We also watched (and smelled and sampled!) chocolate our friends had fresh ground at Mayordomo. Definitely doing that for ourselves next time and customizing the ingredients, less sugar, more almonds. And maybe bring a big suitcase next time?? This was a super fun adventure!

Okay, and  real life of traveling with Maeve... the poor girl rarely gets a good nap at the apartment in her bed. She's a really trooper! Most of her naps are on my back! Our girls are the best ages and sizes to travel right now! Holly and Greta are big enough to walk a lot without complaining and Maeve is small enough to carry a lot. 

Today, we went to the market in Etla. Wednesdays are the market days there. I met a woman at church named Valerie and she's spent a lot of time here in Oaxaca. She invited us to go to this market and we jumped at the chance. We met her and her husband, Clay at the bus station and found out that the buses to Etla are no longer available because the company went out of business. So instead we caught a collectivo which is just a taxi crammed full of people. So all 7 of us were jammed into one taxi! Fortunately it wasn't a long drive really. The market was very big and very busy and packed full of so many things and people. We didn't really buy much besides juice, tamales, oranges, and some little baskets, but I did really enjoy seeing all the sights and observing what Valerie bought! We were so grateful to go on this outing with people who knew what they were doing!

This week we were big spenders at the Artisan market (same place I was cleansed at). Holly, Greta and I went while Maeve slept and Conor worked. The girls have both been pining for Ecuadorian dolls and when we were initially packing our stuff to come here, we promised to get them some jugetes de Ecuador (Ecuador toys). So 5 weeks in, I finally made good on my promise. Holly and Greta each got a doll, a clay pot and a miniature spoon. I bought a couple of wooden spoons, a tool for mashing potatoes/plantains and I couldn't help but expand Maeve's musical instrument collection with a set of maracas. It was lunch time at the market and cuy was on the menu with many people eating it. We bought plantain chips, popcorn, salad of tomato and green onion with a tomato juice poured over it and lime juice. Oh my goodness it was delicious! There were two other ingredients that are typically mixed in, but Greta only wanted what was familiar to her. Next time, I'm getting it with all the fixings! 

On the walk home, the rain came down hard and we got pretty wet!

A week and a half ago, we went to a crazy huge market here in Cuenca. It was honestly bananas and not my favorite experience. I'm not a big shopper and this place was kind of overwhelming. We did buy a fleece blanket for the girls' bed and I bought a pair of sweatpants. We found some local spice called achiote.

Conor returned to this market one Saturday at 7am with a local family to observe how they do their weekly shopping. They spend $40 and that's almost all their groceries for the week! Feria Libre is supposed to be a really cheap place to shop, but it's too much for me!

On Tuesdays and Fridays, one can be cleansed at the market for $3. We went one Friday with out tutor and I tried it out. It's a mixture of Catholic and Aboriginal beliefs.

First, a bouquet of medicinal plants and herbs is rubbed and torn to release the fragrance. The lady held the bouquet to my face for three deep inhales and then she began to whack my body with it while chanting. The whacking doesn't hurt, but it really isn't soft either. She used a strong hand. My whole upper body was thwacked multiple times, including lifting my arms to get my side body. Maeve was extremely concerned as she watched this happen and squawked and panicked a bit. When I had been sufficiently whacked, an egg was then rubbed over my body, my eyes, my face, my arms, my chest, my stomach (against the skin) and my low back (against the skin). She drew crosses with eggs on my forehead and eyes. Then the lady cracked the egg into a plastic bag, held it up to examine it and read it. She told me that I'm worried and I need to relax (so accurate). The next step included liquid (alcohol of some kind) that was super fragranced like flowers. The perfume was poured into my hand where I was encouraged to breath deeply of the smell. Then the lady poured some on my head and rubbed it in. Ok, here's the crazy part. Then she put some of the liquid in her mouth and spat/sprayed it on my bare stomach and back and the back of my neck. That was an odd experience. Last of all, to close the energy doors to my body, crosses were drawn with charcoal on my forehead, stomach and the nape of my neck. 

A truly interesting experience! There were many small children and babies cleansed while we were there. When we asked some of our local friends about it, they were like, ya, we do that every week. Their kids too. I'm not sure that I'll do it again because I'm sensitive to smells and I didn't love smelling so strongly. If I did do it again, I'd do it on the day before a hair wash day! But, I want to take Conor to the market on a Tuesday or Friday so that he can experience this very interesting and very different experience. 

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