As we pulled to a stop at the red light in Guadalajara, our American friend was shocked to see the intersection street vendors. After all, in America you never see people walking in the middle of the road between the stopped cars selling things. As our friend questioned my husband, “Who would buy something here?”, my husband just shook his head. “I don’t know”, he replied, trying not to call attention to the fact that just a few cars in front of them, I had rolled down my window and was flagging over a vendor. Slightly embarrassed, my husband just changed the subject hoping that our friend would not spot me in mid-purchase.
This vendor had exactly what I had been looking for! At that time, in our home the power went out on a regular basis. We had burned through a steady supply of candles. As a result, I had been searching, without success, all over town for an old fashioned oil lantern. Much to my delight my search had finally come to an end. Right there in downtown Guadalajara, a local street vender was carrying an armful of fire engine red oil lanterns. I readily bought two before the light changed to green and then I pulled away.
I love street vendors, you just never know what they are going to have. In addition to the lanterns, I have personally bought many items at these express convenient stops: a lap top TV tray, stress ball, foamy puzzle in the shape of Mexico, a cell phone card, a stuffed minion, a bottle of water, bag of tangerines, a dozen roses, a pack of gum…the list goes on.
One of my favorite things in Mexico are these street vendors. They have so many things to buy and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your car. After living in Mexico for more than a decade, I now miss the street vendors when we are driving in the States. In the U.S., at the intersection, there is never anyone to offer me a drink, or to clean my windshield or to just “DO” something interesting to entertain me while I wait. So the next time you’re driving in Guadalajara, don’t be surprised by the mass of intersection street vendors. Oh and make sure you have a few pesos ready, they might be selling just what you have been looking for.