Sunday, December 03, 2017

Market Day

The Sunday market just outside El Alquilán (the town near the Almería airport) is massive. It starts on a roundabout - things in Andalucía are often informal - and reaches up a roadway for a kilometre or more. There's a roast chicken stand at the bottom, together with a chocolate and churro waggon and a number of tables, and then the market begins. The first half a kilometre is for clothes - cheap shoes, bras, tee shirts, jackets, children's outfits, hats, sweaters and scarves. The stalls are on each side. 'Cheap, cheap, how do we do it?' calls one toothless old chap. 'Buy them now, these prices can't last', shouts a scrawny-looking woman. The market-people are Arabs, Spaniards, Gypsies, Africans, Orientals and many others. The walkway is crowded. There are thousands of people looking for a bargain. Some are returning from further up the market, where the cheese, fruit, olives and ornamental plants are sold. Among the crowds, a number of manteros - Africans without papers -  hover over a sheet covered in shoes or CDs, watching for the brightly-uniformed municipal cop, whose job is either to fine them, or more likely frighten them away. The Africans will pick up their sheet by the four corners and be off, as the cop comes within about fifty metres of them. They head out and around, setting up once again just behind him.
We buy a few clothes and take some surreptitious pictures. The market is like something from Latin America. 'Watch your pockets', I'm told redundantly. 
Outside and heading towards where we left our vehicle, a man catches up with us - 'look at my jackets', he says, opening the boot of his nearby car. 'Genuine leather, just the thing for you', he looks meaningfully at me.
What a salesman.

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