Vegetable Market in Panama City

Busses operate like jitneys. People hail them to get picked up.

Yesterday morning I had breakfast at the Cafe Coca Cola, French toast and cafe au lait (and sneakily poured a shot of mescal from a half-pint of same purchased for $1.40, into the coffee, heh-heh). Bkfst was $2.

In any major city south of (and including) LA, I head for the mercado. Yesterday I explained to a cabbie that I wanted to go to the biggest mercado (there are generally a number of them). First we went to a meat market, where there was more poultry, beef, goat, pork, and who knows, than I’ve ever seen. Next we went to the vegetable market and it was spectacular. More wholesale than retail, mountains of fruit and vegetables. In the outdoor area there were flatbed trucks converted into booths with mounds of bananas, coconuts, plantains, pineapples. A stand with 2-300 papayas. Watermelons cut open to show sparkling pink insides, huge piles of potatoes and dozens of other root vegetables, tons of tomatoes. A beatup black Toyota 4×4 with an 8-foot-high pile of bananas, A room inside with nothing but parsley and cilantro, smelled like parsley incense.Little restaurants serving the freshest of food, and packed with people. I got a glass of fresh-squeezed ice-cold cane sugar juice for 25 cents, it was green and So good. I can’t bring myself to shoot photos at real places like this. I just don’t want to engender that vibe, so I turn on the camera in my head.

Last night after dinner I got an ice cream cone (2 scoops, 50 cents) and sat on a park bench for about half an hour, opposite this diner run by a Chinese family, watching people walk by. The weather is balmy and perfect, and there’s usually a nice breeze from the Pacific, I imagine it can be hot and steamy, but I’ve hit it right.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

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