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Want to buy a sheep chicken pig puppy llama…

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Published: June 16th 2017

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For a few hours early Saturday mornings you can catch the cacophony of the animal market, but come before breakfast because it’s all over by 9. Indigenous living in nearby pueblos bring for barter their goats, chicks, hens, piglets, lambs, llamas–you name it. It’s a squashed together melee.

I elbowed my way in by following on the heels of a bag of guinea pigs. At first it’s just noise and motion, but as I stood there surrounded, a sort of organization started to emerge. I just had to be careful not to get my feet tangled in the rope of a 700 pound pig determined to go any direction except the way he was being pulled.

These folks are having a blast. There are no hawkers, nobody’s yelling for attention— except for the bleats and baa’s it’s pretty tranquil. There are hundreds of people squashed into a soccer sized field visiting and laughing and sharing gossip. I just had to stand there and watch. I’d stand in one place for 15-20 minutes until everybody forgot my camera and I could just take pictures.

It seems that if you have a pig or a gaggle of goats you just stand

in the field with each of them on the end of a rope and if somebody wants one they come up to you and you haggle. They lift tails, check ears–do whatever people do when they’re buying animals and then you have a sale.

Then you stand some more.

Meanwhile you get to gossip with the neighbors and swap lies and all that other stuff that makes market day exceptional.

I was enthralled with it all, especially early when I was the only gringo there. What fun.


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