By Antonio Ramblés AKA Tony Passarello
Guadalajara’s Santa Teresita bazaar
What happens when the village street bazaar goes urban? In Guadalajara the answer is ‘the Santa Teresita street market’… a tianguis.
There’s certainly no lack of ‘big box’ grocers in Guadalajara, and permanent market bazaars like the city’s Mercado Libertad serve up a homogenized version of weekly street markets throughout the week… but there’s nothing like the real deal!
Located on the city’s near north side at the intersection of Pedro Buzeta y Ramos Millán (about halfway between the Avenidas Federalismo and Las Americas), the market takes its name from the parish church of the same name that sits at its center like a grand dame surrounded by her court.
The scope of this place is staggering. Streets are blocked off and merchants pitch tents, set up tables, or spread merchandise on blankets curbside for something like 20 square blocks. Market stalls crowd the church so closely that they seemed poised to climb its steps.
As I stand here on a Sunday morning it almost defies belief to realize that cars plied these streets on Friday afternoon, and will again come Monday morning; this entire market is a moveable feast.
This is a working class neighborhood market, short on art and crafts and long on staples from fresh produce and kitchen utensils to baby diapers and DVD’s.
This market affords a great opportunity to see a cross-section of urban Mexico in its own element; tourists are rare within the throngs threading their way along the narrowed streets.
There’s an energy level here that’s harder to find in the country markets. Porters carry merchandise on their shoulders through the crowds or wheel them about on hand trucks and other makeshift contraptions.
A giant tray of pastries edges past me waist-high, propelled by a man on a three-wheeled bicycle.
A woman pushes a cart full of hangered clothing down the lane toward her stall, and for a moment the same image from long ago in Manhattan’s garment district comes to mind.
A vendor fishes a freshly fried churro from sizzling hot oil. When eaten fresh out of the fryer these are so good that you can skip the dusting of sugar or cinnamon!