Oct 23, 2009
Manizales, Colombia
Elevation 2094m

Alexandro offered to take me to the main market here in Manizales today. He thought that it is not safe for me to go by myself. The market was amazing. Today, for the first time I got to see an entire pig butchered and seperated into smaller parts. An entire pig disappeared into smaller geometeric shapes right in front of me in under 20 minutes. The speed and the skill of the butchery is amazing.

Nothing is wasted here. Everything is used for something. I watched butchers labouriously take off the skin on a cow´s head, pick off whatever bits of meat there is on the head along with cataledge and whatnot for what Alexandro describes as a meat jello like dish.

Here in Colombia, everytime I ask someone about the market, where it is or how I can get there, they look at me and tell me that its not really safe to go. I go anyways. I have never felt unsafe or sketchy when I am in the market, surrounded by butchers, carcass, vegetables and fruit sellers. The most profound and basic thing happens here in these markets and my danger alarm never has gone off. I am uncertain as to why the constant warnings. Perhaps I am not seeing the danger, perhaps I am being a little too naive, or perhaps these nice Colombians just don´t want anything to happen to me and end up with a negative impression of their beloved country.

Alexandro was really excited that he got to take me to the market today and show me around. Towards the end of the morning, he asked me what I thought of it and why do I like it so much. I told him that I like the market because it exists without my gringo dollars. The market happens irrespective to what the flow of tourism is or isn´t. It is authentic and it is real and it is life at its most basic, independent of backpackers or how wildly visted a country is.

*I had some amazing pictures for you but I lost my blackberry (where the pictures are stored on) on the bus ride out of Manizales…so I am afraid that you will have to wait until the end of December when the website gets overhauled with all the new images from Latin America.

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