Paloquemao embodies every color and smell that exist in Colombia: from the sweet and tangy smells of the alleys of fruit sellers, to the earthiness of the tables of vegetables and sacks of potatoes, to the stinkiness of the fish and meat areas, and finally to roses and lillies in the outdoor floral stalls that wrap around the edges of the market hall. We arrived at about 9:15, and although I'm sure the market had been in full swing a good few hours already, the hustle and busy-ness of people buying, selling and moving through the narrow aisles carrying sacks and pallets of goods hadn't slowed a single gear.
Each vendor called out "A la orden!" as we paused to appreciate the colors and choices of spices, baskets, ribbons, fresh herbs, veggies or cut flowers and their accoutrements. There was also a whole support structure for the vendors with tiny coffee stands, luncherias, and grills of roasting chickens and sausages. I got the impression that each stall was a family affair, and probably generations had been selling eggs, fish or flowers each day at this living beehive (and yes, there was also honey).
These pictures only offer a glimpse; let your imagination add the missing the sounds and smells.
I am particularly happy with my purchases, and if you forgive me a moment, may I brag about what I came home with?
Two dozen perfect pink long-stemmed roses, one bundle of white baby's breath to go with them, a large glass vase to put them in, a small vial of vanilla essence to use in a votive burner, a small bag of silver ornaments for our little tree, a ridiculously large bottle of vanilla, three meters of thin red ribbon to be tied into bows on our the tree, two large pitahaya fruits for breakfasts, a virtual bale of fresh hierbabuena (mint) and a one-pound bag of fresh mora (somewhere between a blackberry and a raspberry) to make my own aromatica (fruit and herb tea). Let's not forget the two long cab rides down there and back for three people.
Oh yes, we will be going back!