Local markets are the heart of a city. Particularly in areas where the concept of the supermarket or Super Wal*Mart hasn’t yet caught on, the local market fills the gap, providing access to a little bit of everything. From toilet paper to clothes to shoes to vegetables to meat and beyond, the Stabroek Market in Georgetown, Guyana represents that role in the city.
Starting with its iconic clock tower, a view that dominates what little there is of a skyline in Georgetown and which does not appear to actually reflect the current time on any of its faces, and moving down to ground level, there is plenty to see and experience in the market. There are secondary markets that have sprouted up outside the main building, overflowing into the parking lot that also serves as the main bus station for local service in Georgetown. Merchants outside are selling many of the same products that are available inside, with a focus on consumer goods (CDs, clothing, etc.) and produce.
There were also a few merchants hawking fish of various persuasions. Given that Georgetown is right on the Atlantic I actually had expected a bit more of the marine life to be on sale but what it was lacking in volume was made up in presentation. Bunches of crabs, still alive and tied together hanging on the barrel was pretty cool to see.
After making a couple laps outside the market I headed inside. While several sources suggest great caution inside the market area, I did not experience any troubles or ever even feel uneasy about the space. Maybe I’m more alert following the Togo experience I had but even when I took my camera out to snap a few photos I didn’t feel like I was being sized up unusually by the locals. Certainly keep your wits about you and pay attention, but don’t skip out on the experience out of fear of what’s going on inside.
Inside was rather different than out. There was a greater variety of products being sold, including a pretty decent collection of butchers offering halal meats. The inside also has a collection of restaurants along the southern wall. Curries of a wide variety were available and reasonably tasty and priced. I paid less than GYD 1000 (~USD $5) for a large plate of rice & dahl along with mutton curry and a red soda (really, I had to order by color, not flavor).
There aren’t a whole lot of tourist opportunities in Georgetown. A trip to Stabroek Market is a great way to spend a couple hours just soaking up the local culture and watching the heart of the city beat on.
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