After a few weeks of travelling in Peru, we breifly stopped in the not-so interesting town of Chiclayo. Chiclayo has a nice plaza but is a little dumpy overall, and probably not the safest city ever. However, despite these downfalls, Chiclayo has officially made my childhood dreams come true.
Apparently, Chiclayo is known all over Peru for having a "Mercado de Brujos" or "Witch`s Market". We had visited some black markets in Cusco, but I have to admit, they let me down a little bit. Ever since I was young, I have had this image of black markets being out in the middle of no where, covered and only lit by candles, a thick fog of inscense clouding the air, and then absolutely filled with gypsies, witches, snakes, potions brewing, and all sorts of dark magic lurking in every corner. Unfortunately, Cusco`s market only had pirated movies, cheap clothes, and knock of Nike shoes. What a dissapointment. There wasn`t even palm readings!
But Chiclayo didn`t fail me, no sir. After wandering around the general market, we saw a hole in the wall with all sorts of plants and herbs overflowing out the door. Intriguing! We ducked in and, tourist that I am, I couldn`t hide the huge grin on my face. Victoria said I was "giddy" the entire time (and she was right).
While there were no potions actually brewing right there, there were bottles and viles filled with tonics for anything you could ask for. Strength, health, power, libido, money, love-- it was all attainable right there, out of a bottle! All of the "potions" had tasty ingredients of blood, random animal parts, and herbs I`ve never even heard of. We talked to one of the women and she was instructing us to take on of these types of potions THREE times a DAY (breakfast, lunch, AND dinner)! Um, no thank you. We politely declined and moved on to another stall.
We were completely surrounded by wonderment. There were lucky beads, love amulets, special candles, feathers, monkeys and other stuffed animals, dramatic jewlrey, snake skins, dried herbs, shells, and even voodoo dolls. Freaky! And of course, there was TONS of San Pedro and other drugs around. San Pedro is a hallucinogenic drug from a cactus and was taken by Peru`s ancient Shamans to seek answers. The drug shaped Peru`s history and even today, San Pedro remains really popular along with it`s brother drug called Ayahuasca (which comes from a vine). While I was waayyyy to intimidated to buy much of anything (don`t worry Mom, Hugs not Drugs), Victoria and I ended up buying some Cat Nail Cream (we didn`t want anything that we had to swallow or ingest). The cream is supposed to help with muscle aches, rheumatism, tendonitis, and other ailments so we thought we`d try it out on our sore spots. I`ll let you know how it goes, we may become the next Cat Nail Cream advocates!
After wandering around, wide-eyed, mouth agape, we headed back to the normal part of the market. We stopped breifly to buy some apples for our 10 hour bus ride that evening, and that`s when another miraculous thing happened. We saw Washington Apples! All the way, on the otherside of the world, next to the Witch`s market, we found some good ol' delicious Wenatchee apples! What a happy coincidence! It really WAS a paranormal day, making my imagination race like a child`s. And whether you believe in it or not, I like to think that there still is some magic left in this world, you just gotta go and find it.