The Sisyphean Craft Market

February 15, 2010

The main Fortaleza craft market is right across the street from our hotel, on the water side of Avenida Beira-Mar.  It has all the usual crap–cheap soccer jerseys, stalls with cashews and dende oil, things made out of coconuts, hammocks, jewelry made out of Amazonian berries and shells, and fairly nice white embroidered and crocheted things typical of Bahia.  It’s big, and we wandered through it the first day we were here.  We realized yesterday that it gets taken down and set up again every single day.  Every day a collection of metal poles are fitted together to create the structure and tables are set up, the goods are rolled in in big crates, and everything is taken out and displayed.  Each night, all of the components are packed up again into the boxes, the structures are dismantled, and by the next morning it’s bare space again, with faint markings on the ground mapping which merchant goes where. It’s sad, really.  Sisyphean.  Why can’t they build a real structure?  Or is it more poignant that people don’t have anything better to do than to build and take apart the same thing every day.

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