In Vancouver BC there is a fascinating street called Commercial Drive. Home to many ethnic stores, restaurants and pubs, it’s a hub of activity. In Granada, there is Calle El Comercio. The two things these thoroughfares have in common are: business – lots of it and, people – lots of them.
In Grenada there is a certain energy – an ardor and visible passion to just jump in and be one of the hundreds of vendors – however big or small.
Yes, this passion is driven by a need to survive in this poor country, but the point is, they’re doing it. Unless they’re very poor, they’re not looking for a handout.
On Calle El Comercio, the huge selection of products and services is staggering.
The vendors are located on the street, in stores off the street, in alleys lined with stalls and in the main market building the Mercado Municipal.
This building was built in the 1890’s, constructed in the “Neo-classical style”. It’s one of the historical landmarks in Grenada.
What can I buy?
It would take quite a while to stop at every stand or kiosk to recognize everything for sale. Some are obvious – a small bench, a tarp for a roof, bicycle wheels and tires hanging up and all kinds of bike parts dangling from the rafters give it away. Fair enough.
Down the back of the main Mercado building, we came across the long and narrow room that was the butcher’s area. As we entered, we saw a pile of deep fried something and when we looked closer, it was the pork rind (skin) that is part of the typical Nica dish Vigaron. Cool. As we continued on, there were all kinds of animal parts hanging up and down on the counters there were piles of meat of all kinds including yummy organ delicacies.
Back at home in the typical supermarket, the chicken is cradled in Styrofoam and wrapped up within an inch of its life – which as we know involves a fair bit of processing and industrialized care. Open and available for your selection, here the chicken selection was hygenic and convenient. And, there is a good chance this chicken was raised in a very different environment than we’re used to. They certainly taste that way!
Other vendors could fix your shoes, give you a haircut, fix your watch, shine your shoes, top up your cellphone plan, cook your lunch or dinner and even perform a mani-pedi.
As far as other tangible products go, the list is almost endless. From the freshest fruits and vegetables to cellphone cases – it’s all here.
We realized as we walked through the market and along the street what we were witnessing was the true Nicaragua. People buying and selling all the essential things for their daily lives. As long as people live in Granada, Calle El Comercio will be the place to shop and meet your friends!