S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Market Day

Saturday, August 5
Coral Cove Marina...still

This close to the equator, the sun rises later and sets earlier in the summertime than it does in Boston. So when I got up at quarter to six this morning to get ready for the cruisers' taxi to the fresh market, it was still rather dark out. No matter. The market is worth any amount of lost sleep. I decided, this week, to try the swordfish for $1.50 U.S. and a few pounds of pork loin cut to order from the pig's flank, in addition to fresh avocadoes the size of softballs and papayas (called paw paws locally) the size of footballs. I also bought several varieties of mangoes in an attempt to figure out which ones are best for eating plain, and which are the disappointingly sour ones I cut into on occasion.

On a whim, I stopped by one small, uncrowded stand in the corner to purchase okra and expand my curry repertoire (Kim, are you proud of me?). The three Rastafarians (a number of Rastafarians here in the West Indies seem to be gardeners if not full blown farmers) behind the counter seemed rather distracted when I pulled up to the table, but, undeterred and intent on my purchase, I began selecting the best green pods. It wasn't until I was holding my choices expectantly that I realized two of the men were, very carefully and quite literally, conducting some business under the table. I didn't see what it was they were sorting and bagging, and I made a point of not trying.

Once again, I passed by the shrimp lady's table without making a purchase. But the shrimp look so fresh and beautiful, I don't know that I can hold out much longer without buying a pound or two. Maybe these shrimp are plucked by hand from the sea, rather than dredged up with a pile of wasted fish and coral and plantlife, which is then thrown, dead, back into the ocean. Have I mentioned that the price of fresh jumbo shrimp is about $4 U.S. a pound?

Though shopping for food at open air markets ranks right up there in my list of Things Likely to Cause Euphoria, just behind snorkeling and eating frosting straight from the can, I do venture out to other shops from time to time. And though I have no sewing ability, and no interest in developing the ability to sew, I was told that no stay in Trinidad would be complete without a visit to Jimmy Aboud, The King of Textiles. So I got myself on a maxi taxi, pleasantly uncrowded in late morning, and made my way to Port of Spain.

Perhaps Jimmy Aboud's greatest accomplishment is his economical use of space. This fabric megastore was fairly large to begin with, but our pal Jimmy has long since dispensed with the notion that a shop's aisles need to be wide or uncluttered. The store is crowded--with floor-to-ceiling fabric and with eager shoppers. Yet I had no problem finding an assistant to help me locate and measure out some Sunbrella fabric at a rock bottom price to send back to Kim and David, who are staying in Grenada for the season. After about twenty minutes of agonizing over what to choose for myself from the overwhelming selection, I also bought a yard and a half of bathing suit fabric. Most of my suits are so stretched and faded that they have been relegated to "work" bathing suits, soon to be covered in varnish stains. But there is a local woman who comes to the marina once a week. You bring her your fabric and a bathing suit you like, and she makes you a new one for a little less than $20 U.S. It turns out that a yard and a half is a lot of fabric, so when the bathing suit lady comes back with my new bikini, she'll also bring some magazines, from which I can pick out the pattern for a second suit.

I was in the store long enough that I had a chance to see Jimmy Aboud himself, nattily dressed, coifed, and sporting a tie pin with a gumball-sized pearl. I also spent time at Jimmy Aboud's wandering from aisle to aisle, laughing at some of the outrageous fabrics waiting to be turned into costumes for carnival, and admiring the elegant and colorful traditional dresses and headpieces many of the women in the shop were wearing in anticipation of Emancipation Day.


Blogger Timothy J Dion said...

The market sounds like a great place! I'd definitely try some of the shrimp :-). How did you guys fare with TS Chris?


11:57 AM  

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