Wanderlino Arruda
Djalma Souto


The Amazing Caruaru Street Market-Fair

If it's bigger than the one in Morocco, I have no idea. If it is something like a boisterous exotic Persian street market, I can't truthfully say either because I've been to neither. But, one thing I do know for sure: The Caruaru street market-fair is or probably should be the largest of the kind in the whole world. It's even bigger than the one at Feira de Santana, in the state of Bahia. A respectable-sized collection of people and things, spread over an enormous asphalt square and confusing mess of old, run-down buildings downtown, and totally engulfed by an unbelievably noisy Babilonian-style orquestra of deafening sounds. Above all the others, The Caruaru street fair is worthy of my deepest respect. It even tops the big one at Teresinha, in Piauí

The street fair of Caruaru sort of resembles one of those Chinese New Year dragons, covered with colorful drapes or whatever. A monstrous serpent, sinuous and wriggling, that carries on indefinitely because it has no beginning, and it has no end. That's right! A Chinese serpent or dragon, brightly colored, twinklings of a thousands crystal prisms and sparkling forms. In other words, a fantastic living kaleidoscope. The Caruaru fair has the deafening power of the Amazonian pororoca mixed together with the geometry of Serra Pelada, a restless, dancing, boiling cloud, staggering crowds coming and going with the final objective of buying, selling.and performing! To see and be seen. The Caruaru street market, before all else, is a maelstrom full of life, enthusiasm and dreams.

So much is done at the Caruaru fair! There, you can buy or sell pumpkins, a thousand exotic varieties of tropical fruits, small monkeys, big monkeys, chickens, dry meat, cassava and coco flour, beautiful hand-made woven baskets, stone and ceramic pottery, coités, tapioca, big antique bronze house keys, lithographs, home-made rugs of cotton, palm fiber, just about everything under the sun! Do you need your watch fixed? How about a haircut? Or tattoo? Perhaps you're in the mood for a little depilation? Would you like to try on this new three-day lipstick? Do you want some sewing done, maybe repair some old damaged embroidery, you can fry a few pieces of beef, if you get hungry. Are you looking for a yellow macaw feather for your carnival fantasy? You can even find miniature models of the Apollo and Sputnick spacecraft. Have no doubt! Visit the Caruaru street fair to find out for yourself, because there, you can find anything you want. Bedclothes and tablecloths, ceremonial clothing sets for baptisms, marriages, and any other imaginable celebration, leather cowboy pants and spurs, dental floss, women's brassieres and underwear of all sorts, brilliant glossy hair ribbons, belts, socks for men, socks for women, socks for babies and little kids, all this and more, exposed in thirty thousand different stands to be admired, examined, haggled over and finally sold.

At the Caruaru fair, you can eat and drink, take a restless nap in a hammock and dream, have a shower, walk or run. You can even stand still in one place if you feel like it. It's an absolutely huge space to be seen and felt, composed, read. Listen to the popular street poetry or get chummy with the poets themselves. Are you a devotee of Father Ciço? There, you will be among tens of thousands of other devotees because everyone at the street market is! Depending on the season of the year, the Caruaru fair even offers instant flashflood-rainstorms, water falling from the sky, a miracle, a great miracle, to contrast with the scalding year-round.century-round sun. How fascinating, beautiful and delicious is the Caruaru fair!

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