When I found out about the Tuesday market of Silvia, and I realized I would be traveling from Popayán to Cali on a Tuesday, I decided to make the detour and visit this mountain town. The good thing about market days is that there is plenty of transportation, and our bus pulled out of Popayán bus station before 6am, and dropped us in Silvia only one hour and 15 minutes later. The market was already in full swing, and even though I had seen some pictures of the Guambiano people, I felt thrilled to see them with my own eyes now. They are indigenous people living in this region, and on Tuesday, they come down from their villages to sell their wares in town: mostly agricultural products. Before anything, I first wanted to just cruise the streets, and soon found out the market is actually only a couple of blocks, and inside a square building.
The Guambiano women dress up in black skirts, a blue poncho with a pink border, and a bowler hat, while the men wear a blue skirt with a black poncho and a pink line, a hat and a red scarf. The women then often have white necklaces, and some wear flat hats on their back, in which case they don't wear a bowler hat. I had read that they are not fond of camera, so I make sure to only take shots from a distance. It is impossible not to take pictures: the Guambianos are a delight to the eye, and extremely photogenic. I see some older women, with deep lines in their faces, with rich necklaces: very attractive sights. One of them approaches me and tries to sell me a necklace: surprisingly perhaps, you almost don't see any handicrafts sold at the market. Then again, I also don't see any other foreigner. With their exotic looks and remarkable attire, it somehow surprises me that their Spanish is fluent.
There are a few streets outside, where mostly Guambiano market women sell their products, but the inside market is pretty big and busy, too. More fruits and vegetables, meat, goat heads, and fish, and I walk away with some tasty pineapples in my backpack. At various points, I just sit down and watch, women haggling about a price, inspecting the contents of big bags of small potatoes, or just chatting to each other. I wonder if all these people know each other: the market is not that big, and they must meet every Tuesday here in Silvia. After exploring the indoor market, I walk the same streets again, sit down, enjoy the colourful people in the streets. I head to the main square, where a minivan is waiting for one passenger, and before I know it, I am on my way down to Piendamó and Cali. So close, yet so different.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Silvia Market (Colombia). 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 Silvia Market. Read more about this site.