Saturday June 22
It was Friday, my 6th day in town, and time to restock the fridge. I walked to the bottom of the hill where I had often seen empty taxis go by. I assumed they were cruising for fares. I was right. Inside of 3 minutes I flagged one down. Just like NYC. I had done some preparation and had written some words in spanish in my moleskin. I said Mercado, and Che Mercado. He said si, and off we went.
If I walk out of the front yard and a bit to the left I can see the Super Che supermarket from here. It is perhaps 600 meters away as the crow flies, perhaps a kilometer walk with some changes in elevation at both ends. It sits at the top of the hill across from where I am staying. It is where Sheila took me to shop on Sunday when I arrived. A few minutes after entering the taxi we came to an intersection with a stoplight (there are only a few stoplights in town). There was a sign: CHE with an arrow pointing to the right. We went left. I figured he knew a better way.
After a few more blocks I knew we were not headed for the Super Che. I decided to go along for the ride. Having spent some time with maps of town, I thought he might be taking me to the other big supermarket in the city, the Ahorrara. When I saw us pass that (it was visible a block or so away as we sped past) I realized that he was taking me to the farmer’s market, a big sprawling open air building on the north side of town near the airport. When we got there he drove around it to the main entrance. I got a glimpse inside of several aisles and realized everyone was pretty much closed up for the day (it was 3pm).
He stopped and announced “Mercado”. I looked at him and said no, and pulled out my moleskin where I had written some phrases in spanish and some locations: “Por favor, llevarme a Che Mercado”. He acted a bit put off, and then said “SUPER CHE”. In less then 5 minutes we arrived: he ended up with a good fare, and I had a better knowledge of the lay of the land. We both won.