In the historical district are public mercados where vendors sell fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and sundries from little stalls inside huge open buildings. There are modern groceries in Cuenca but visitors, and locals, like to shop in this old way.
On the square outside the Mercado are even smaller vendors selling religious artifacts, sunglasses, performing music, socializing, and today watching men change an electrical light on a next door building with a bucket crane.
Pigeons waddle in large groups on the plaza and lift into the air when little boys run through them with arms extended like airplane wings.
I have been told that bartering in Cuenca is the rule, instead of the exception.
It isn’t crowded this morning but women reach out to engage me as I walk down the aisles. They know if they get my attention, move me to look at their produce, I will buy something. The lady I buy the pineapple from, sells me, in quick succession, a papaya, a bunch of bananas, a bag of apples.
This trip to the market takes two hours.
Saving a few dollars on groceries may not be a good deal when I eat up 1- 12th of my day in the bargaining.