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There are times when you go to the feria obligado, you go because you have to, because when you open the fridge there is more space than stuff, and when dinnertime comes, you think, “I could eat rice and yogurt and lemon pickle.” (Just me?) Then there are times that you go because you think, yay, Saturday, I get to go to the feria! That’s what happened to me today.

Notable moments included discussions by the woman who sold me grapes (who, as we were talking, was buying change rolled up in graph paper taped with Scotch tape from a man who is going to Chiloé on vacation, but just with his wife, leaving he kids behind) talking to the across the way fish lady about the right kind of aloe vera (apparently not the Chilean kind) that has the right kind of medicinal properties, according to her doctor to help with some back pain she’s having. I though about telling her about my new lower body stretching routine that is helping my back, but then I just bought the grapes and continued on. Another repeated theme today was cars missing parts. I saw one car that was shedding panels as it went, driving through the feria, a large, copper-colored station wagon that had more clang than umph, and on the bike ride home, one car missing the back bumper, and one missing the front one. Cars look naked and toothless in this condition, and you have to wonder how prudent the drivers are, so maybe it works to keep them out of future accidents, I’m not sure.

But you came here for the vegetables! First, here’s a little sign on a basket. People in Chile wax nostalgic about a mythical tomato from antaño (yesteryear) that tasted like tomatoes. The ones now, especially the ones from the supermarket are said to either “have the flavor of nothing” (not taste like anything), or to taste like plastic. I have eaten better and worse tomatoes in my life, including the ones we used to eat fresh from the backyard garden, while actually still standing in the garden, saltshaker in hand, which smelled and tasted and felt like summer, so I can totally relate to what this sign says, which is “Fresh juicy tomatoes with real tomato taste,” though this is not actually where I bought my tomatoes today.


But you came here for the vegetables!

In the haul above, we have the following. 1 USD=713 CLP at the moment

cauliflower, one large 1000 CLP=$1.40
iceberg lettuce 600 CLP=$.84
radishes 500 CLP=$.70
1 kilo lemons 600 CLP=$.84
800 grams white grapes 800 CLP=$1.12
500 grams strawberries 400 CLP=$.56
1.2 kilos tomatoes 800 CLP=$1.12
1 bunch assorted herbs n greens 500 CLP=$
1 bunch fresh thyme 500 CLP=$.70
4 small onions 300 CLP=$.42
8 carrots 400 CLP=$.56
1 dozen farm-fresh eggs 1500 CLP=$2.10
1 bunch scallions 400 CLP=$.56
“american” corn 2 ears 500 CLP=$.70
1 kilo cranberry beans 800 CLP=$1.12

Total 9600 CLP=$13.46, and a couple of good stories. Enjoy! Also, if anyone knows what you’re supposed to do with fresh thyme, I’m all ears. It was just so pretty I couldn’t not buy it.