Ah, Shopping.

I have to admit that I am rather fond of this first picture, but that might be  because I had to wait quite a while, hunkered in a corner, waiting for everyone (dog, humans) to move into position. But that’s photography. It often involves a lot of patience.

Apparently there is only one municipal slaughterhouse in Estelí, which does not operate every day of the week, but which does operate on Wednesday and/or Thursday, so the meat is freshest Thursday (I have not been able to verify this so it falls into the category of “so they say”, and your mileage may vary).
I think the dogs are happy with the meat on pretty much any day of the week, though.


Every couple of days while staying in Estelí, I have been walking over to the market at 6 AM to meet people and take pictures. Ostensibly, the point is the photos – I think I said in another post that I really like the market first thing in the morning because you see things then that you often can’t see at other times of day, and besides, it being 6 AM the light outside is better than later in the day – the sun is low in the sky; the light has a slightly golden hue to it, and all that good stuff that causes photographers to call the little while just after sunrise (and just before sunset) the “golden hour”.

But there is more to it than that – the people in the market seem to be in a pretty good mood early in the morning, even though they are generally working pretty hard. Nicaraguans are usually welcoming and friendly when you approach them, especially with a camera (most love to have their pictures taken). But they seem even more accessible in the market first thing in the morning. Maybe its the sense of a new day and all the things it will bring; maybe it’s the abundance of the market when it is first set up; maybe it’s my imagination. Who knows? Anyway, I like it.

So here are a couple of guys I rather enjoyed meeting.

Gustavo Castro Rodriguez
Gustavo Castro Rodriguez and I spoke for a few minutes in the meat alley, where he was laughing and commenting on the fact that I was taking a lot of pictures while getting low on my knees, and because I was making sure to get a dog in a couple of the shots (like the one at the top of this post). He is a very jovial guy, laughing a lot, and very happy to make your acquaintance at 6:15 or so in the morning.
His initial pose in his chair was rather jaunty, with one hand on the mirror and his head tilted to one side, but it didn’t quite work. The angle on this shot is a bit more straightforward, but it’s a shot that you can see… and that shows his character somewhat, I think.
Gustavo, others told me, was injured during the Contra War during the 80s. I should have just asked, but silly me, I had a moment of shyness about asking why his legs were gone. If I can meet him again (this is a possibility) I will ask and if the story is not what I was told I’ll post a correction. But anyway, what a nice guy.
Tomás Oroscos Blandón (I added the accents based on how he said his name. I hope I’m right) was wearing a BlueJays hat! Obviously, this was someone to talk to.
Tomás is a campesino in for the day at the market. He seemed attached to the corner stall where I was taking photos of a guy cutting the ends of some yucca.
Tomás Oroscos Blandón
He approached me to ask where I was from. Someone who had met me on another day in the same place told him I was from Canada, and he started asking me what I thought about the market.
“There is a lot of poverty in Nicaragua,” he said, “are you taking pictures of poverty?”
“No,” I replied in my broken spanish, “I’m taking pictures of Nicaragua. And anyway, there isn’t much poverty here. The market is full of abundance.”
“Nicaragua isn’t the poorest country. Haiti is poorer.”
I agreed that yes, it was.
“But Canada is rich.”
Again, I had to agree.
“But it’s warm here, and cold there.”
… I didn’t really have the heart at this point to say that Canada had been experiencing a heat wave and that it was probably warmer in Toronto and Montreal than Estelí at the moment.
“Sometimes,” I said.
When I asked Tomás his name, I wrote it down. He also took my book and wrote his first name in spidery letters. I suspect he might not be able to write much.
So there you have it:  just a glimpse of my morning trip to the market. One of these days I might also actually buy something.
And until next time, here are some  more of this morning’s shots!
Trimming Yucca.
More Meat. It is sold at the ambient temperature.