Monday, August 13, 2007

Playground entrepreneur

I'm used to seeing ice-cream vendors pushing handcarts through the parks here, but this fellow was quite the rolling convenience store.

Most people were buying corn on the cob, which he pulled steaming from a plastic cooler, skewered, and covered with flavorings. One customer had her corn brushed with mayonnaise and covered in grated cheese. Another asked for what appeared to be chili powder. He also had what looked like chicken soup, which he ladled into foam cups.

There were whole mangoes and shelled chunks coconut on skewers. The man would use the stick to keep a grip on a mango as he sliced it into a plastic bag. Then he sprayed the fruit with what looked like lemon juice and sprinkled it with chili powder.

There were whole cucumbers on the cart too, although I didn't see anyone eating them, and bottles of the colorful syrups used to flavor shaved ice or sodas. Another popular item, in a clear plastic bag, looked like pinkish cartwheel-shaped pork rinds.

This vendor did a steady business, for as long as I watched, while an ice-cream man nearby went unnoticed. Most of the transactions were carried out in Spanish, so I only understood a few simple words, like "queso" and "por favor."

Now I wish I'd asked some questions. It's interesting to feel like a foreigner in your own country.

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