Mercado Municipal Nro. 4

Mercado Cuatro is a shopping/trading center occupying the wedge formed by the intersection of Avs Francia and Pettirossi and stretches over several blocks in Asuncion, Paraguay. It is about a 30 minute walk from the city center.

photo credit: www.http://cdn.paraguay.com

photo credit: www.http://cdn.paraguay.com

It’s easy to get lost amongst the hustle and bustle of the vendors. You can find almost anything in Mercado 4–the variety is overwhelming…exotic animals, traditional clothing and crafts, instruments, bootleg everything (Nike, Adidas shoes, Prada, DVDs, Rolex, etc…), food, beauty supplies, fishing gear, Christmas lights (especially since Christmas is almost upon us),  fresh fruits and vegetables, live animals, exotic animals, Chinese knock-offs of almost every name-brand clothing there is…you name it, it is probably there somewhere.

Live animals available for purchase

Caged animals

Caged animals

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Traditional Clothing and other traditional wares 

traditional clothing and other traditional wares

traditional clothing and other traditional wares

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Everything you can imagine is here

Everything you can imagine is here

Mortar and pestle

Mortar and pestle

Beautiful handmade leather bags traditional and found in many shops

Beautiful handmade leather bags traditional and found in many shops

Armadillo purses

Armadillo purses

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Kurupi The Kurupi is a god of fertility, and it is said that everything he touches bears fruit. The most notable physical feature about the Kurupi is that his penis is so enormously long that he wraps it around his waist, much like a belt. Because of the length of his phallus, he can wind it around doors and windows to impregnate women while they sleep, without them ever knowing he was there. Oftentimes adulterous women will blame the Kurupi for their pregnancies, and Paraguayan parents will use him to scare young girls into abstinence. The Kurupi is often overcome with lust and to satiate his desires he will steal lone women wandering on their own. For this reason, parents don’t allow their daughters to travel or walk unaccompanied. The only way to escape the Kurupi is to either cut off his penis or climb up a tree. The Kurupi resembles a short, squat, and hairy god (similar in appearance to Pombero). Paraguayans attribute their wonderfully fertile land and well-germinated plants and trees to the Kurupi. The Kurupi continues to be prevalent in modern Paraguayan culture, mainly due to the ‘Kurupi’ blend of yerba máte, a popular local loose tea drink. source: http://www.vidadelatinos.com/article/5-bizarre-mythical-creatures-paraguay#sthash.OIUuvKCr.dpuf

Kurupi
The Kurupi is a god of fertility, and it is said that everything he touches bears fruit. The most notable physical feature about the Kurupi is that his penis is so enormously long that he wraps it around his waist, much like a belt. Because of the length of his phallus, he can wind it around doors and windows to impregnate women while they sleep, without them ever knowing he was there. Oftentimes adulterous women will blame the Kurupi for their pregnancies, and Paraguayan parents will use him to scare young girls into abstinence. The Kurupi is often overcome with lust and to satiate his desires he will steal lone women wandering on their own. For this reason, parents don’t allow their daughters to travel or walk unaccompanied. The only way to escape the Kurupi is to either cut off his penis or climb up a tree. The Kurupi resembles a short, squat, and hairy god (similar in appearance to Pombero). Paraguayans attribute their wonderfully fertile land and well-germinated plants and trees to the Kurupi. The Kurupi continues to be prevalent in modern Paraguayan culture, mainly due to the ‘Kurupi’ blend of yerba máte, a popular local loose tea drink. source: http://www.vidadelatinos.com/article/5-bizarre-mythical-creatures-paraguay#sthash.OIUuvKCr.dpuf

Toys and Miscellaneous 

Sofie really wanted a Doc McStuffins (or Doctora Juguetes "Toy Doctor" as she is called here).

Sofie really wanted a Doc McStuffins (or Doctora Juguetes “Toy Doctor” as she is called here).

I couldn't justify buying a Doc McSuffins whose skin color was altered to make it more marketable in South America

I couldn’t justify buying a Doc McSuffins whose skin color was altered to make it more marketable in South America

knock offs

knock offs

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bootleg Converse

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Chinese dolls

Custom and ready-made formal wear

Custom and ready-made formal wear

Walking amongst the stalls was invigorating. The masses of people around you, the sounds of bargaining, kids running around, music blasting from different stalls, traffic from the street, vendors luring you into their shops. The smells were at times incredibly pleasant: fresh baked chipa, grilled meats, fresh fruits. Other times the smells were…well….those of gutted cow, intestines being cleaned, gutted fish, giant hearts hung from the ceiling, caged animals…those kind of smells.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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less that $1

less that $1

Beef (Organs and Intestines) and Fish Market

Organs, intestines, oh my

Organs, intestines, oh my

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hearts, anyone?

fish for sale

fish for sale

intestines or balloons?

intestines or balloons?

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We didn’t purchase much this time…it was more of a sight-seeing/hunting expedition. I found my yarn that I’ve been searching for and it was only Gs 24,000 (~$4) for 10 skeins and Nickie’s mom bought our youngest a cute little dress for about $3.

As for the photos, I had to use my iPhone for them because I wasn’t familiar enough with the environment to use my DSLR and carry our youngest at the same time. At least with my iPhone, I could slip it in and our of my pocket quickly before most even noticed I was taking photos.

In the comments below, I’d like to hear your suggestions for future posts. What would you like to know about Paraguay? Are there any traditions or places you’d like to read about and see photos of? Let me know!

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