The main plaza, Santa Cruz de la Sierra – image credit on the photo

Going to have a break this week. I’ll leave the continuation of the Peru story for next week.

A few weeks ago I saw a great story on Lottie Nevin, This Little Piggy Went to Market about an Indonesian market. It got me to thinking of some of the South American markets that I have been to, and used to frequent.

Most notably was Los Pozos in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, but also Abastos in the same city and San Juan in Lima, Peru.

Sloths live in the trees in the plaza – image via: about.com Ron Miller

Some of Lottie’s photos (she a great photographer) could have been taken in any of these markets, they are so similar. The thing they have in common would give a sanitary inspector nightmares. Let’s just say you will not find anything like it in the First World. If you haven’t already, hop across to Lottie’s blog and have a look.

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Los Pozos at the lower middle, close to Arenal Park on the left. This is just a few blocks from the central plaza – image: Google

Los Pozos today is not at all like it used to be when I lived there.

The old market was demolished and a new one built, but that didn’t mean that the level of hygiene was up graded, it just meant that the market was in a new building.

The building looks new, as you can see by the frontage.

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The new Los Pozos

But the surrounding streets are still an impromptu jumble of stalls and colour.

One of the things about these markets is that despite the lack of hygiene, there aren’t hoards of people getting sick. I certainly never suffered any illness by buying my food there.

This also got me to thinking that we in the First World are babied, mollycoddled… “I guess the big attraction for me, apart from the hustle and bustle, is that they show what wimps the western world have become, a point that I was blind to before travelling all over South America. I found that in the 3rd World I could live with half the baggage and double the fun.” – quote from a comment I made on Lottie’s blog.

The colour and hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets

The colour and hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets

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The meat market

These aren’t my photos, they are ones that I found on Google, I can’t remember who to credit, but if they are yours, let me know and I will. Can’t figure out why the market photo is out of alignment.

The western world is over-regulated. There are too many rules and laws, that we don’t need half of them. But we have become so used to everything being ‘squeaky clean’ we have forgotten how to live.

Next week, back to Peru