Knowing that the market opens, and dies down, very early, I decide to head over the marketplace of Port Mathurin on an early Saturday: market day. When I get closer, I see people walking the other direction with heavy bags full of shopping goods: am I too late? But when I approach the bridge linking the bus station to the market area, I know I am not. People are getting off buses, coming from all over the island to buy. Sellers have been here since very early morning. Hawkers are selling fruit on the bridge, and when I get to the other side, I am surprised to see mostly souvenir stalls surrounding the market building. Colourful shells, wooden cars and planes, bags with Rodrigues written on them: as if a big cruise ship could come in any time. At the same time, foreigners are a small minority here. Or are they bought by people from the main island?
When I enter the principal building, I know that I have arrived at the real marketplace. Here, vendors are standing behind their stalls, selling vegetables and fruit, bargaining with customers, cleaning pumpkins, re-arranging their wares, talking to each other. When I leave the building on the other side, I see that the meat, poultry and fish section is on the side, in clean, separate buildings. I walk around the main market building, strike a conversation with a nice lady selling cakes with tropical fruits. She explains how she makes them, decorates them, carries them from her home to the market, and how she hopes to sell them all before the end of the day. It is inevitable I buy one of them from here: the delicious coconut cake is so filling that I carry it around for more than a week, and even end up taking it home.
At the other side of the building, I find more souvenir stalls, and end up talking to several ladies. One of them has a particularly friendly smile under her hat. While nice to look at, I will leave the souvenirs at the stalls: this is my first day in the country. I enter the main building again, and decide to buy some fruit. I have never seen such small pineapples: the vendor explains that they do not grow bigger on Rodrigues. I also carry a grapefruit and a bunch bananas home for a healthy breakfast. While quite busy, the market still feels quiet at its busiest hour, easy to walk around in, low-paced, vendors having time for a chat. It gives the market of Port Mathurin a friendly feel, and a good introduction to the tranquillity of Rodrigues island and the fruits this tropical island offers.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Port Mathurin market (Mauritius). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Port Mathurin market. Read more about this site.