I am ambivalent about markets and car boot sales. I love mooching around and finding bargains, but I hate the boob-brushing, sweaty, smoke-stinking closeness which comes as part and parcel of some, like the Sunday Market in Los Cristianos…….some interesting stalls amongst the tourist tat, but forget it…..not to mention €1.50 for a small bottle of water!! The best of the best is the Sunday street Market in Santa Cruz, which sprawls over the streets neighbouring the Market of Nuestra Señora de Africa, but more of that another day.
The Guaza Rastro is a car boot sale…….minus the mud and the brolly in the eye which come to mind when I think of boot sales in England! Well, for mud you can substitute dust, and I did see one lady using a brolly as a sunshade today.
For a cross-cultural experience, for a people-watching pastime or for a way to get a tan whilst standing around making money it is hard to beat. It is rumoured that the serious people arrived at 9pm yesterday evening to get the best spots, so when I rolled up at 7.45ish (daybreak!) I got a pretty bad pitch. I took heart from the fact that the van next to me belonged to a couple I know, who do the small markets regularly. If it was early enough for them, then it must be good enough for me.
Maybe the early people get time to set out their wares neatly I mused, as people crowed round peeking into my boot to get in before anyone else……..taking Trixy with me isn’t only for the company. This is something I have been doing from time to time for the past few years. I look on it as downsizing, or clearing the clutter out of my life, though I did it before those things were fashionable! Well, my available living space has been shrinking, so it made sense.
It’s something I have come to enjoy as well though. Where else on this island do you get this mingling of nationalities with the same intent, I wonder. It is symbolic of what I love about the South of the island. Sure, the North is lusher and prettier, more “authentic” Canarian but this mini United Nations is a thing to behold. I discussed Eric Clapton with chatty Brummie, talked books with a lovely English lady and an charming, elderly man, and the state of the world economy with a young man from Mali. I joked with a colorfully robed couple of ladies from Senegal, and discussed diving with a very well-educated German couple. I was haggled by Germans, Moroccans, English and Canarians – always with a smile. It stikes me that in this gathering of people, who, essentially, are not well-off, there is much more laughter and fun, more genuine liking and respect that in almost any group of wealthy people in which I have ever been.