|Off in the distance you can see the entrance to the piata centrala and directly in front is the central bus station.|
The piata is very loosely separated into different categories of goods. With produce and meat products having well delineated sections, while the rest of the market is made up of stalls where you will mostly see clothing grouped together and house hold goods grouped together and et cetera. Although with the stalls you could really have a stall devoted to anything anywhere in the piata so while you might have a good idea where to look if you want to find a new teapot you might be surprised to find a cheaper one at a stall hidden among stalls mostly devoted to cosmetics. Sometimes it can be a bit maddening trying to fight your way through the crowds and never knowing where to find something and most of the time it really is just luck of the draw if you happen to stumble on exactly what you are looking for.
But again, why spend time bumbling around in the piata when everything would be just as easily collected from one of the ever growing number of supermarkets? And really the answer is I don't know. I think the major reason I end up at the piata as much as I do is because it is very close to Peace Corps HQ and even though it might be hard to find what you are looking for you are also probably more likely to find a larger selection than you might at a supermarket (and haggle for a better price). Also shopping at the piata is such a unique shopping experience, that it kind of grows on you the more you get used to it, and while it can be hectic it also has a lot more character and a lot more opportunities to start up a conversation than the calm, well ordered supermarket that can seem a lot more impersonal and maybe even a little unwelcoming in comparison.
|The pork room, not for the squimish. You can buy any part of the pig you want and I mean any part.|
People get very upset whenever I pull my camera out to take pictures in the piata...but luckily someone has uploaded a great video on youtube of them walking through it. I think this says it better than I ever could.