Robaina's plantation

Thursday 16 February 2012

The Mercado, Habana Vieja

            The Mercado (market) conjures up memories of my youth spent in Italy. I love open-air markets. Sure, we have them here in Canada in the summertime but they're not the same. Here they're clean and tidy with lots of room. In Cuba they're dirty and crowded but that's what I call colourful. For me, going to the market is an experience. Nothing bad has ever happened to me but I'm always aware of my surroundings. In Cuba, the market is not an outing on a Sunday afternoon with family in-tow like here in my country. All Cubans depend on one market or another, 7 days a week, as the place to buy they're produce. There are no Supermarkets in Cuba that sell fresh produce, only frozen & imported that usually isn't available on the Island. Cubans don't buy that stuff, we foreigners do. Like everywhere around the world, Cubans complain that prices keep rising. I can't tell going to the market because for me as a foreigner the prices seem ridiculously cheap. I mean no disrespect to the Cubans and their situation. I have a lot of Cuban friends from all walks of life and I understand what they're going through. With 10cuc I can't carry the fruit and vegetables I can buy. Another thing I've come to realize is that you only find what's in season. It used to be more evident in the past but I've noticed a change. With the laws changing over the past few years and the government allowing unused tracts of land to be leased for free to whoever is willing to work it, I've noticed more product available at different times. I haven't heard talk of a shortage for a while either. It might not seem like much but it's progress. This market in the pictures is the biggest in Havana and my favourite. If you don't find what you're looking for here it's unlikely you'll find it anywhere else in the city. That's a big reason for me to come here, one stop. It's located in Old Havana, so if you rent here as I used to, you can walk there as I used to. It's not in a bad part of Old Havana, just a neglected part but that's changing too. You have nothing to be afraid of, I recommend you pay it a visit if you're in the area. One more thing, they use their currency. If you pay with CUC, expect Cuban pesos for change. They will give you 24-25 pesos per CUC.

video clips below, copy and paste

Address: corners of  Corrales y Avenida de Belgica (Egido)
Hours:  Mon-Sat  8am-6pm     Sun  8am-2pm

1 comment:

  1. Cuanto daría por poder comprar algunos aguacates y algunas malangas, para hacer frituras.

    Y ahora si me voy...

    Biquiños desde Galicia