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sledding

The Market in Santiago de Cuba, 19th Century, as described by a French Traveller.

The alleyway that runs behind the market presents a lively show every morning: carts pulled by oxen or mules, men in huge straw hats on small, nervous horses that with difficulty make their way through the crowds of blacks and colored people. Young men wielding ropes come and go carrying barrels, baskets; others carry stacks of goatskins or cages of chickens. Black women, dressed in light cotton with scandalous scarves, let themselves be seen an instant before the turmoil, balancing baskets of fruit or vegetables on their heads … they make their way through the crowd with the flexibility of wild cats. Others, with their hands on their hips, advance with small steps, gracefully swinging their hips. In the market square … squatting merchants sell their good on low tables or right on the ground: fruit, flowers, pottery, bright red and yellow fabrics, silk handkerchiefs, fish and shellfish, barrels of salted meats … there are great piles of oranges, pineapples, watermelons, coconuts, cabbages, hams, cheeses, stacks of bananas, onions, mangoes, sweet potatoes, limes and potatoes, all spread out in confusion next to bunches of flowers. The square is so crowded that you almost have to walk right on the merchants’ tables, risking knocking them over onto an old black woman with every step, or crushing a basket of eggs. Shoppers buzz like a swarm of flies, they bargain, they gesticulate, they laugh and they chat in the harmonious patois of the colony.

Source: Antonio Benítez Rojo, La isla que se repite

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sledding

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