Friday, February 17, 2006

Alasitas Market

The version of the story that I like goes like this:
Before a solider had to leave for war, he carved a tiny doll to stay with his wife and their young child. He placed the doll on an important shelf in the kitchen and asked the doll to keep the family safe, and to keep them company as well. Within a few days of the soldier's leaving, the entire city was under siege -- there was very little food and everyone was afraid.

But the mother sang songs about happier times to both her child and the doll, and the child told the doll wonderful stories about the foods that used to be found in the now empty markets. Sometimes, before bed, the mother would pour out her grief to the doll, worrying about her husband, their child, and their whole city. And other times, when the mother was busy in the other room, the child would ask the doll if everything was going to be all right.

Somehow, each morning there was a bundle of food outside this family's door. In fact, there was enough to feed both mother and child, plus many neighbors as well. No one knew where the food came from, or how it got there until the child decided to pretend to sleep just inside the front door and watch. Just after midnight, the child was amazed to see the tiny doll come to life and scurry out under the front door. And just before dawn, the child was equally amazed to see the tiny doll return with a tiny bundle of food on its back. Crouched in the shadows, the child watched as the tiny doll dropped the sack in front of the house, slide under the door and climb back up to its shelf exhausted. When the child opened the front door, the tiny bundle of food became full-size and real.

And to this day, in the first months of the year, people buy tiny little versions of what they hope will become real this year: a car, a wedding cake, a diploma, a pantry full of food, tools and supplies for building a house, an airplane ticket, even a DVD player or a suitcase of money. They ask for a blessing on it, then place it on an important shelf in their home.

I love the little remote controls for the DVD players. (I bought the black Macintosh, of course.)

Euros, dollars, and just about every South American currency I could imagine.

These were all about the size of a fingernail.

The little pliers work! Likewise the tiny bags of Ace laundry detergent. Thankfully the teensy-weensy propane torches don't.

I'm not sure who wants the coming year to bring them 2 purply dancers.

Tiny scaffolding, bricks, wheelbarrows with cement mix, and Bosch brand drills.

I think the spotted ones are tiny little quail eggs.

The market also does brisk business with toys and toy accessories in general. This juxtaposition merited a photograph, it was decided.


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