The Sunday Tlacolula regional tianguis (indigenous market) is where locals go to buy everything imaginable: furniture, cookware, light bulbs, plants, vegetables, fruits, meats, rebozos, live animals, jewelry, aprons, CDs and DVDs, clothing and plumbing supplies, just to list a few!
Portable stalls, covered with blue plastic tarp, line the streets for blocks on end. Interspersed are some interesting tourist collectibles: finely woven baskets, lacquered gourds, Mitla tablecloths, embroidered blouses, carved wood figures, fancy shawls, and more.
I love Tlacolula. The colorful indigenous dress, women carrying babes to their breasts wrapped in shawls securely tied around their necks and midriffs, wheelbarrows filled with honey dripping from hives, pushcarts with piles of fresh strawberries and guayaba so ripe that the air is like breathing a smoothie. Men pull goats by coarse ropes. Old women cradle turkeys under their arms. Hawkers call out the daily specials at improvised street cafes where rotisserie chicken spins as diners eat at makeshift tables.
This Sunday I had a shopping list. No tourist dawdling for me.
I started out late, hopped on a 3 p.m. bus from Teotitlan del Valle (TDV) to Tlacolula. The 10-minute ride is 7 pesos (that’s about 50 cents). On Sundays, that’s the only destination for the TDV bus that makes numerous round trips all day ending with the last one returning at 3:30 p.m..
Tlacolula Shopping List:
- Clothes hangers. The basic necessities are not what tourists are looking for, but Tlacolula has everything. 10 for 25 pesos.
- Oil cloth. This is not for the dining room table! I lit upon this solution to cover a window to keep the light out. Hopefully making for better sleeping. 2 meters for 60 pesos.
- Masking tape and picture wire. The tape to hang the oilcloth and the picture wire to hang a beautiful clay sirena (mermaid) wall plaque I bought in Santa Maria Atzompa last week. The potter made the platter with only one hole (a mistake) so no way to thread a wire to hang. So I found a button at the market, too. (My plan, fit the button into the hole, thread the wire through the button holes, hang–it worked.) Tape and wire at the hardware store for 35 pesos. Button from a street vendor for one peso.
- Hand-woven petate floor mat. Not on my shopping list, but who could resist the woman sitting on the curb weaving these mats from palm fronds. Indigenous people slept on these. Now, they make a perfect natural floor covering. A steal at 40 pesos.
La Dueña de Comedor Mary
5. Late lunch at Comedor Mary. The most delicious food in the cleanest restaurant you’ve ever seen – anywhere. I could write a whole post about Comedor Mary. Located on the street between the church and the permanent market. Chicken soup, chile relleno, accompanying plate of avocado, radishes, guaje, with a Coke Light for 90 pesos.
By the time I left the market, the TDV buses were kaput (last return trip at 3:30 p.m.). So I walked to the Tlacolula crucero (crossroads) and picked up a collectivo (10 pesos) that dropped me off at the TDV crucero. I sat next to the cutest 2-year old with her mom in the back seat and we made goo-goo eyes. From there, I took a local collectivo (5 pesos each and sharing the cab with 6 people, 3 adult men in the front seat) into town. My bundles went into the trunk, fortunately. From there I walked home.
Overall, a great day I’d say. Shopping list accomplished.