Peru is Rich AF: Tiled Floors at the Market

It’s been a while since I published an edition in the Peru is Rich AF series documenting the new Peruvian economy, which on global standards is upper-middle. In case you weren’t hip to the acronym, as I wasn’t until recently, “AF” stands for “as fuck.”

So Peru is rich as fuck, and the latest exhibit is tiled floors at my local food market. I’ve been buying food at these places since 2008 from Peru to Colombia, and I visited their a couple in Mexico and Argentina. Besides the produce on sale, they’re basically all the same. Dozens of independent vendors of varying degrees of formality selling produce cheaper than the supermarkets.

Learning to buy at these markets is a freshman-year lesson while living in Latin America, at least for those who came down broke like I did. In fact it’s a common tourist stop in a few cities. Bogota is so short on world-class tourism aside from partying that many of the gringo travel media‘s “to-do” lists feature Paloquemao, the food market just west of downtown.

In their defense, visiting these markets is a fun, eye-opening experience for gringos visiting anywhere in Latin America. Just seeing the chickens hanging, the whole fish and the laborers’ restaurants a few steps away is a safe culture shock. My brother snapped this shot at the stand where we buy chicken, eggs visible inside the cut-open hens.

So as I said, all these markets are the same as far as I could tell, aside from the regional offerings available for sale. But there’s one big difference about my neighborhood market in 21st-century Peru — it just got tiled floors to cover up the dank concrete ala your standard Midwestern basement.

Get your veggies while standing on clean, white-tiled floors.

Get your shit paper, which will ultimately be thrown in the trash, but for now it’s on clean, white-tiled floors.

Your average fruit stand  on clean, white-tiled floors.

Fish on the right, veggies on the left, all on clean, white-tiled floors. Today I was in there without my camera and the fruit stall further down had a flat-screen TV showing the France beating Uruguay in a FIFA World Cup soccer match. I saw France score their second goal while standing on clean, white-tiled floors.

Juice bar on clean, white-tiled floors.

A convenient Lord of Miracles image to say a prayer and light a candle on clean, white-tiled floors before your shopping.

You get the picture. Peru is rich as fuck.

Expat Chronicles reader, leave a comment representing your city and barrio and whether your food market has installed tiled floors. Am I the only one or am I going crazy?

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6 comments

  1. At least two of the city mercados in Morelia (Michoacan, Mexico) have tile floors. But in my barrio, Santa Maria de Guido, the thrice-weekly tianguis operates on outdoor basketball courts with plain old concrete.

    But then, when we’re not shopping at Costco, we shop at organic markets, which always have nicely tiled floors.

    https://scontent.fgdl5-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/35193528_1911324712246251_2223147073241350144_o.jpg?_nc_cat=0&oh=a86fcc12e3fd049906ee71339439ada3&oe=5BDFBFD4

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  2. Nothing in Trujillo so far, although Civil Defence have been sweeping through all public spaces and closing them until problems fixed. This even includes the football stadium! But I digress. Only the Mercado Central has seen tiling improvements, and that is in the stalls that sell food, juices, etc. All these have been retiled and look very smart.

    Incidentally have you been to a Unicachi? There’s one in VES which we visited and there seem to be more in north and central Lima. It’s a walled area with drive-in roads for the merchants – and maybe clients – and you can find simple market stalls and two or three storey market shops. And BIG.

    They appear to have some interesting origins.

    A large chilean supermarket chain seems to have made a bit of a mistake in their recent footy-based tv ads. They did not understand that “preciazos” – at least here – doesn’t mean Great Prices, it means Great Big Prices.

    I’d consider that your market improvements might have originated either in a Health And Safety inspection or a shower of “Free Money” from the banking industry but, so far, hasn’t happened here and I guess might be a looooooong time coming (cue Crosby Stills Nash).

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  3. Hello from Bogotá!
    I’m not sure about the flooring in our markets because I don’t wanna ever look at the floor lest I make myself an easy target for homicidal muggers.
    But rest assured I’ll start to keep a keen eye out for clean, white tile floor and report back.

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  4. “Expat Chronicles reader, leave a comment representing your city and barrio and whether your food market has installed tiled floors. Am I the only one or am I going crazy?”

    Well, I haven’t been to Latin America since 2008. First trip here was in 2013 and I don’t remember looking at the floor in any market of any Latin American country I’ve been to outside of Mexico where I am now.

    Though, from memory, most “more informal markets” I’ve been to in other countries were usually open-air ones in the street. If I had to guess, not too much tile obviously.

    It’s similar in some of the markets in Mexico City. Where I live in a neighborhood with a “rougher” reputation perhaps, the markets here are held in the middle of the street forcing traffic to take any other direction. We have two of them (known as tianguis) that are held several times a week within a minute or less of walking distance from me. No tiles obviously.

    But these are more informal markets I would say. Out of curiosity, I looked at some old videos I took when I lived in another Mexican city known as Pachuca. It’s not a well-known city. No tourists from outside countries whatsoever. It’s not poor but it’s definitely not as rich as Lima. From what I see in my old videos, the markets that look similar to the one you posted pics of above have tiled floors.

    I remember going to another market similar to the one mentioned in Pachuca but in Mexico City. Was just checking out a different neighborhood and this was maybe a month ago. They also had tiled floors.

    Granted, Mexico City of 2022 isn’t very poor (though that depends on the neighborhood obviously). I know it had a rougher reputation in the 1990s from what a old friend of mine said where his memories of CDMX are that of a very “ugly place.” But I haven’t been around long enough to notice that change.

    I have, however, noticed some positive changes in Mexico City over the 5 years here with minor improvements here and there. Like how the metro along certain lines is nicer. More TVs, more modern trains in some sections of the city, fancy jazz music playing along one metro line while riding around and efforts to have more ventilation and make the train ride cooler.

    And obviously changes outside of the metro that resemble more positive improvement in the community step by step.

    When you see it over the years here, it does feel nice. Not just because the changes are nice in of themselves (like having more ventilation in the train) but to see a place you have called home for a while now to improve. Seeing your new country “become rich AF” or “richer” than before leaves a good impression on you that is hard to explain. Only relatable when you have called said place home for a while and see it as the place that you’ll be calling home for the foreseeable future (unless something changes). Still, even if you leave, there will always be a part of you after the years that “roots” for the place you have spent time in and likely any visit back seeing the improvements will still be a nice welcome that can more easily be appreciated with time in said place.

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