El Socorro Is…… Life in Central Market
Life in El Socorro Central Market
If you think El Socorro is an isolated old town that has only its past history to tell, you think wrong. The vitality of this place is brought by its lovely people and young college students from 2 local institutions, Free University of Colombia (http://www.unilibre.edu.co/socorro/ ) and Industrial University of Santander (http://www.uis.edu.co/webUIS/es/index.jsp ). One of the many aspects of its vitality can be spotted of a typical day in its central market (Central Comercial or Plaza de Mercado).Today let’s go to spot out the lively life in the market and get a taste of how life here in El Socorro is like.
Even though generally you can always find necessary things in nearby shops and convenient stores, to fully discover the how local life is like you have to visit the central market. It is located between Calle 12 and 13, Carrera 16 and 17 (For details on how to locate them refer to previous post http://www.ehespanish.com/how-to-get-to-el-socorro/ ; http://cootrasaravita.com/blog/). It is a building with only 2 floors painted in green color. Two entrances or exits are painted yellow, which are located at the east and south, respectively. You can easily identify it by the crowd and the busy trucks surrounding the building.
The central market are open everyday from 5 a.m to 3 p.m except Thursday and Sunday all year round. On Thursday and Sunday it is open until 4 p.m, with the special market that we describe below open as well on these two days. In December due to more travelers in town, the closing time is postponed to 5 p.m.
Entering from the south entrance, you will be firstly seeing shops selling various handmade products. Even though for foreigners they might not be necessary, those are important clues for us to know how life here in Santander. Keep going down on the right there are mainly stores that offer fresh vegetables and countless types of local fruits.
Those are a must for you to try! Just sit in one of the open seats like we show in the next picture and try the locally creative combination of fruits and sweets! The taste of fruits, cheese with yogurt are unforgettable! One interesting local term you can use in this case is ¨La ñapa, por favor¨. This is to ask for a bit more after you finish yours for free and sometimes the ¨ñapa¨ can even be half of your original size.
In the middle there are stalls selling meat, including beef (the main type of meat here), chicken, pork etc. What is most interesting is on the left side the market that’s open only on Thursday and Sunday. Different from the ones that serve every day, here the sellers are usually farmers from nearby villages. You can really find freshly picked vegetables and fruits. Moreover you might find some interesting things that you’ve never seen as well! For example for the unknown vegetable below, I was told by the locals that it can be used for the purification of blood. And the second picture shows a different cucumber that is called “Pepino de rellenar”. The direct translation can be “refilling cucumber”. It can be used to refill rice, beef and other vegetables to make a delicious meal. There are more interesting things you can find, as long as you bring your attention and curiosity!
Inside the central market, you can buy basically all you need for living here. You can even find a special zone that has different small kitchens to serve breakfast and lunch. Famous local delights such as Colombian style tamales, Santander style “caldo con arepa” and “ cabro con pepitoria” can all be fine here with an afforadable price. Watch closely for our later post as we will be introducing the local cuisine with more detail there!
Lastly since we are in Santander, what we definitely cannot miss is “Bocadillo”, or “Dulce de Guayaba”, the well-known sweet jelly-like snack made from guava in Colombia. The most famous bocadillo is mostly produced in Santander! Just by looking at a corner in the central market you would know how important it is in local people’s life. As one of the most important cultural symbol representing Colombia, how can you not know and try it after visiting Colombia?
Here is just a glimpse of what’s inside the central market in El Socorro. You can find way more things than what I described here. I will leave the answers for you to explore it yourself. Spending one day there and experience how it is to be a Socorrano (people of El Socorro) is definitely worth your time! In the end, I would like to call for more sharing of how life is in El Socorro according to your experience? Is it worth exploring?