sketchbook: Mercato Camisano
January 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Having recently moved back to the United States after more than two years spent living and traveling abroad, I can’t help but notice some things that seem to be ubiquitous around the world but are strangely absent from my home country. Case in point: markets. Even in the most posh neighborhoods, the streets of Seoul are lined with vendors selling vegetables, clothing, gifts, snacks, live fish and other wares. Entire neighborhoods were devoted to outdoor markets that had permanent status and offered literally everything you need to live – and quite a bit of entertainment as well. I’ve shopped in outdoor markets in Japan, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Ecuador, and Italy, all with their own quirks but built on the same basic model – the combination of shopping and socialization. In the states, we do have some green markets and craft fairs that follow this model, but for us they’re novelties and special occasions, not a routine part of life. I miss markets. Shopping in markets is more of an adventure – what will they have today? How low can I bargain the price? What is this, anyway? – and after getting used to them, shopping the American way at big stores like Target and Whole Foods seems plain domesticated.