Culture Magazine

Santa Cruz De La Sierra: Markets

By Flemmingbo

Crowded, chaotic, anarcy, action, trading, food, smells, clothes, spices, people, shouting, more people, people everywhere. And in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia and in the biggest market I have ever witnessed, you can add this to the list: tropic humidity, 36c degrees heat, scooters, TVs, speakers, cars, motorbikes, pirated DVDs, shoes, perfume, soap, Christmas decorations, anything and everything, fried chickens, live chickens from a place called Pollo Batman and many many thousands of people including a few mennonites and one gringo, yours truly. I am big fan of markets, especially in Asia and South America. I love the chaos, the people, the food, the smells, the anarchy, there appears to be no rules but it all works. How exactly do they get this unbelievable amount of stuff to and from the street stalls each day?

Trying to make visual sense of any of this can be almost impossible but it is much fun. Apart from the mennonites, I am at least a foot taller than anyone else here. Heck, I’m even taller than the booths and whoever invented those ugly coloured plastic market tents are pure evil. Not good for photography. But it’s fun to shoot markets. I stalk the mennonites as they stick out as I do and provide some interesting contrast. Plenty people stop me and want to buy my Fuji X100. No amigo, I need my precious. This market is maybe 12-15 city blocks. Maybe it never ends. It is daunting in size. I walk and walk and get halfway lost and shoot and get stared it a lot and shoot some more, and walk some more, people duck my camera, no one likes the camera here, if I get just one image I like from today I am fine. Keep walking, keep shooting, so much crazyness going on, I like crazyness, fit right in. Always carry the camera, snap, move, think fast, try not to step on a chicken. The markets of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra: Markets

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