Today I spent most of my day at the Mercado Central, a 5 story market that sells everything from food and drinks to bikinis and jewelry. The market is HUGE, and just as hot. There’s no air conditioning, but they sell water and drinks there that you can use to cool off while you shop. I went with some of the students who are here on the TnCIS trip, the same group that I came here with last time. I thought my Portuguese was awful but now I know it could be worse haha. I helped them translate costs and bargaining and I’m not going to lie, it made me feel pretty darn good to put some language knowledge to use. I realized that even though my Portuguese isn’t what I want it to be, at least I could navigate our way through the market without misinterpreting or misunderstanding.
The people who work in the market are willing to bargain, and if you see something you like and they don’t tell you a fair price you can go three booths over and get the same thing for cheaper. At one booth they wanted 50 reals for a towel, and then on the next level we found one similar for only 25, and that was without bargaining. We kept reminding ourselves to think in terms of US dollars. So 50 reals would be $25, 25 reals would be $12.50, and so on. Also, shopping at the Mercado Central as opposed to the mall gives working class people more opportunity and business. Shopping at the mall supports big corporations that often oppress those in the working class. I just don’t want anyone to misunderstand me when I say that I like to shop here. It’s not spoiled to have a day of shopping, especially when the purchases you make help lower class people put food on their table at the end of the day. Shopping in the market helps boost the economy and encourages people to work, and many of the things you can buy at the market are handmade so it encourages creativity as well, something we can hopefully all agree on. Today I found many handmade items that I will definitely be going back to buy as souvenirs for my family and friends.
My purchases today? A huge purple and white hammock for 35 reals, a pair of Brazil colored work out shorts for 15 reals (my host brother said they were ugly, but I think they’re cool!), a Brazil flag bathing suit cover for 25 reals, and (my favorite!) a Brazilian bikini for just 20 reals! I know, I know. A teeny, tiny Brazilian bikini! (Sorry Mom! haha) But I love it. It’s black and white striped with solid black bottoms. I might not ever wear the bottoms in the US, but at least while I’m here I won’t look like a total gringa on the beach. Here are photos from today’s adventure!
^^^This is what the mannequins look like in Brazil. Oooookay. haha.
^^^And finally, this is the bikini I bought today. Cute right?! I love it. The top I will definitely wear back in the US. I have plenty of black bottoms to pair it with, or I might be bold and start an isty bitsy teeny weeny Brazilian bikini trend haha. Until next time!!