Thursday, October 6, 2011

Open Market in Granada, Nicaragua

Open Air Market Granada, NicaraguaToday, I visited the Open Market in the city of Granada in Nicaragua. Perhaps I'm spoiled. I've been to many open markets.

For years, my local open market was the Farmer's Market on Third and Fairfax in West Hollywood. Posh. Clean. Fabulous. In my late teens and early twenties my sister and I would meet there for Belgium Waffles. The Grove is now adjacent to the Farmer's Market.

When we lived in Antibes, France we often shopped at the large open market at the end of the street where we lived in old town. It is another very well known open air food market in the Open Air Market Granada, Nicaraguaoldest part of town, very quaint, about a block from the Picasso Museum and a couple blocks from the Port. Snobby, rather unfriendly. But hey, it's France. What did you expect.

There's a cool open air market in the Italian port town of Civitavecchia which has a little of everything and some of the best beef jerky I've ever had anywhere... well, beside at road stands in Texas. Those were the best!

Brugge, Belgium as an absolutely lovely Christmas Market that Sophie and I have enjoyed on two separate occasions. Strasbourg has one but it's overly crowded resulting in a nightmare experience. The Christmas market in Monte Carlo is enjoyable and the one in Cannes is quaint with some very nice woodwork by a true artisan who is perhaps a little a little on the kinky side. It's amazing what he is capable of creating. The Christmas Market in Nice is fine, as well. Oh! The Christmas Market in NYC was actually very nice with a lot of original craftspeople selling their goods. It was much better than I had expected. Sophie and I went there for the first time this past Christmas. I'd be happy to become a repeat visitor of the NY Market. Of course, the Open Air Market is Santa Monica is incredible. I really like the little market in the Pacific Palisades. It's not quite the circus as the Farmer's Market in Santa Monica but it still has everything one might want... even a little tranquility!

The open air market just off Las Ramblas in Barcelona is fantastic with tons of fresh juice mixes and everything you can possibly think of. It's clean and always a friendly, touristy sort of place where lots of shopping happens.

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Open Air Market Granada, Nicaragua
The market here in Nicaragua was actually not really a place I wanted to shop. Plus, I can never figure out how much anything costs. No signs. No prices. Oftentimes prices are in $US dollars not Cordoba, the local currency. And, in all honestly, often the prices in US dollars are more than if I were to buy it back in the States. Things are way over priced and not worth it!. The souveniers aren't worth bringing home. Well, maybe nothing is except my experience via a blog and a few photos. I went into an art gallery that is more like the local city art association where anyone can put up their work. Lithographs (10x14) for $60 US. Are you kidding? Even if a local is good in the States he's going to have a hard time getting that much for it. In the States, if you want it to sell and if you are still trying to make a name for yourself, try $15-45 US.

Honestly, what I'm learning from this trip is that the American economy has been depressed for so long that it is simply not cheaper or... dare I say, worth it, to travel abroad. Our country, the US, is beautiful with a multitude of variations from city-to-city and state-to-state. People need to make a living and sell things at prices that will sell. Yes, some people price high, but there are plenty of incredibly talented artists in the States that sell original artwork for prices that are affordable. They can do this because they are prolific and good business people.

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Open Air Market Granada, Nicaragua

Americans aren't made of money. We don't appreciate going to a foreign country and being ripped off. We can stay at home and deal with Wall Street and the government if we want that!

I've attached some picture from the Open Market in Granada, Nicaragua. I didn't buy anything. There was always someone who worked there rushing past me impatiently, annoyed that I was in their way. On that note, I held my bag close and didn't stay too long. Honestly, is that the best vibe for a place to give tourists if they want us to spend money. I was ready to spend. Show me prices, a smile and that you're not annoyed that I'm there and perhaps my purse strings will loosen up a bit.

A note to Americans: If you're looking for a cheap, different vacation you might try camping locally in a National Park or National Forest. Or, Gatlinburg, Dollywood, Mt Rushmore, The White House and the National Monument, Big Sur, Devils Tower, The Redwoods, Custer Park, Key West, Walden Pond, Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, Faneuil Hall, Niagara Falls, Times Square, The Met, LACMA, Smoky Mountains, The Art Museum (Gerhy) at UofM, Mall of America, Junkman's Daughter, Frick Museum, Hearst Castle, Balboa Island, SeaWorld, DisneyWorld, Alligator Alley, The Flinstone Park, The Jolly Green Giant Statue, the Huge Dinosaurs, Cadillac Ranch, Vegas, Aspen, Mammoth, FL's white sandy beaches, CA & OR coastline/PCH HWY 1, Lighthouses along HWY 95 ... you get the idea. (Sidenote: I've been to all the above except Niagara Falls and Dollywood).

I've been to 25 countries. I've spent a decent amount of time in several of them. I speak from personal experience when I say we've got a country worth visiting at affordable prices. My hotel room here is $49 US nightly. You can get a fine place in the States for that which would probably be much safer. Couch surfing, hosteling and camping are always options, as well.

I understand Nicaragua needs the tourism, but honestly, so does America. I'm simply not impressed enough with what other countries have to offer at this point to want to spend my money elsewhere right now. My country needs my support. I can pick and choose and make sure I'm spending my money in places that appreciate my business rather than shops that are jerks. I've always been happy to make that distinction. At this point, it's time to start picking and choosing countries as well.

If a country thinks Americans are a bunch of suckers to be ripped off at highway robbery prices than I'd rather just not go there.

Nicaragua has a very decent amount of tourists from different parts of the world. There were three Germans swimming in the pool allllll day yesterday and today. I met a very nice German girl on the plane over here. The dollar isn't as high for those with Euro. Maybe they will enjoy Nicaragua more than someone like me.

All's well that ends well.

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Open Air Market Granada, Nicaragua
Remember: The problem wasn't that Nicaragua was a poor country. In fact, it was a nice change to be somewhere that wasn't built up and fairly pretentious. The problem was that the prices were at least as high or higher than in the States for things that weren't nearly as valuable. Nicaragua is the second poorest country behind Haiti. For a country so poor to charge prices that are often higher than what is found in the US simply doesn't make sense to begin with and it certainly doesn't make sense to pay more for a decrease in quality, value and comfort. If the reason to travel to Nicaragua is to find quality, comfort and service at a good price then not finding these things takes away the advantages of traveling to the country. Supply and Demand. If we can get something as good or better at home for the same price then why go elsewhere? Hopefully, the vendors of Nicaragua will realize that it might be more fruitful to lower the prices to a reasonable profit level to entice more visitors and thereby filling their own pockets even more and perhaps with additional likelihood of return visitors.

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