Pulgas, A Little Slice of Mexico

The culture here in the Rio Grande Valley is very Spanish oriented; lots of Mexican restaurants; in the grocery stores they dedicate a whole aisle to just tortillas (soft or hard, corn or wheat, large or small). Beans are plentiful and there are many types of peppers available.

pulga restaurant menu

pulga restaurant menu

But the pulga (Mexican name for a flea market) is the go to place for a Mexican family outing, and I do mean the whole family. Abuelas to ninos, that’s grandparents to children (in Spanish), all go for a taste of their home country.

many kinds of peppers

many kinds of peppers

and truckloads of oranges

and truckloads of oranges

avocados

plus avocados-4 for $1

You never know what you might find at a pulga, that’s the adventure. They aren’t as sterile and ordered as the Winter Texan oriented DonWes flea market I wrote about in my previous post, but they are a great place to explore another culture without crossing a border.

sheep

sheep

hay wagon

hay wagon

Some pulgas have a section where you can buy sheep and goats, roosters and turkeys and the hay to feed them. Puppies are for sale, all kinds from the tiniest chihuahua to the pit bull breeds. I’m sure they’re from puppy mills or similar conditions and it saddens me to see them out in the hot sun waiting for a good home.

you can buy a used saddle

you can buy a used saddle or a doll

they buy junk cars

they buy junk  cars

old wagon wheels and milk cans

old wagon wheels, a buck saw and milk cans

The energy at pulgas is high with latin music blaring out of many stalls and vendors calling across the aisles to entice customers. It’s not clean, it’s not organised, the ground underfoot is rutted soil so if it is raining you are walking in mud and if the weather is dry, as it usually is here, the dust blows everywhere.

the crowd

the crowd

movies that are available

3 for $5 pirated movies are available

You can buy pirated copies of current movies, not always the best quality. There are used clothes and new clothes, cowboy boots and hats, toys and some kind of Mexican candy made with hot pepper. Some vendors sell just junk and you wonder. I know “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”,  but really!

all kinds of junk

all kinds of junk

rusty old bikes

rusty old bikes

Everywhere is a feast for the senses, color at every turn, the sound of Spanish spoken, the bustling energy of people around you and the food!  The smell  of elote, that’s roasted corn on the cob covered in crema, lime juice and hot pepper,and tortillas cooking tempt passersby.

 how to make gorditas

making gorditas

churros

churros

We purchased gorditas al azucra, like little flour tortillas, sweetened, and churros relenno, donut like things. Both were very good. There were also stands that sold cut up fruit sticks in a cup which they sprinkled hot pepper over top. We went without the pepper.

spiropapas

spiropapas

The most intriguing food was the spiropapas, potatoes spiral cut and deep fried on a stick and served with the same toppings as the corn. Havn’t tried them yet, maybe sometime before we leave.

aguas- fruit flavored drinks

aguas- fruit flavored drinks

A visit to the pulga is an experience not to be missed, not for the squeamish or faint of heart, definitely an adventure.

boots

boots

hats

hats

pants

pants

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