We arrived there in the middle of the night, at that point we had been up for three days straight filming a documentary for school. We were looking into different ways people spend their money in the city, what they buy and how they buy and this inevitably landed us on what can be probably considered as the main produce selling centre of the city, the market of Paloquemao. We asked someone we know who works there to bring us in with her, really early in the morning (or late at night depending on how you see it) when the vendors have only started setting up and the trucks are arriving.
The amount of activity at this time was surprising for us, we were sleepy, sluggish and cold, while the people who make their livelihood from selling their products in these market were up and ready, working fast paced and turning a bare parking lot into a commercial space bursting with colour and movement. I know that an image is worth a thousand words, so rather than share here my experience I will share some of the images we captured to give you a sense of a place you have to visit yourself to take in fully.
The first people in place are the flower vendors, they arrive before dawn and set-up their stands and as the light begins to fill the sky, the colours of the flowers an paper wrappers make for a pleasant view.
When the flower stands are up and ready, the early bird shoppers start to arrive. You can cross paths with wedding planners and brides shopping for the big day, florists, undertakers, housewives, mothers with babies in their strollers, and even sleepy university students filming a documentary. If you want to take photos or videos of the market you will need to request a permit ahead of time.
Right before the actual market doors open we make a pause to enjoy some local cuisine and drinks. There are a number of food kiosks set up for feeding the people who bring their products via truck, for those will will have a long morning of standing there selling and for those of us who just can’t resist a 5am bowl of soup that is good enough to raise the dead.
After a well deserved breakfast, and when the doors of the actual market had open we came in with the people who are setting up to sell their fruits and vegetables and even got to see the butchers unload their truck.
These images should be enough to get you at least curious about the place and maybe even inspired to take the trip. More information on markets in Bogota here, and to see when the main markets in the city take place go here.