When Wal-Mart Comes to Town

Olives, Olives and More Olives

Clothes, Clothes and More Clothes
Cheese, Cheese and More Cheese

There are stores on the edge of the city that resemble Wal-Mart... places where you can buy clothes and coffee cups and perfume and steak all in the same stop.  Although people do shop there, it's only convenient if you a) have a car and b) have the mindset.  One of my Italian friends is bewildered by this concept.  And she's younger than me!  She said, "How do you know how to shop like that?"  She just doesn't get how or why it works.  Well... I finally thought of a response for her:  It's like going to the market.  The real market.

Although it appears in different areas of town on different days, there's a big market that comes to the neighborhood to the west on Wednesdays.  It's only 5 minutes on my bike and I like going there.  It feels so very communal.  It is loud!  People are just chatty, chatty.  Very fun.

People refer to it as "The Chinese Market" because the clothes and wares are made in... well, China.  Which - if you don't mind the lower quality - you'll like the price.  Although, don't be fooled!  This is still Italy where the pretty but fake stuff still costs $25.  There are little spots of 1 or 3 euros... and the deeper you go in the middle of the 50+ stands you'll find the same thing for a better price.

These stands are crazy/interesting.  Basically, they are like a big trucks that have sides that lower down... and then tables are set out in front of them.  All of them have some sort of covering which allows you to shop in the rain.

My weekly purchase is a chicken.  A fresh roasted chicken (you can watch them brown before your eyes) that tastes like heaven.  I don't know what chicken tastes like in heaven - but I'm thinking it's like this.  You can get your cheese cut on the spot for you or have part of a fish head hacked off for you.  I always skip that guy.

You can buy flowers - both real and fake - and you can buy underwear.  So, yes... this is the closest thing my area of town has to a Wal-Mart.  The only difference is that at here, you have to pay each seller individually.  And they don't take American Express.


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