We have so many different measurements in use in Guatemala nowadays it is difficult to make sense of all. We use the metric and English systems from present day and from the past. I mean you buy a liter or a gallon, half a pound or 250 grams, you can buy things by arrobas (25 lbs) or by quintales (100 lbs). You can buy land by square varas,yardas,meters, or feet, etc.
Let me explain a couple of things about this street scene where some people are selling fruits. As you already know from yesterday’s post, strawberries are now in season. Next you see a boy selling apples. Between his feet you see a green plastic container, which is the medida, or the measurement size. Whatever he can fit inside the guacal verde, the green container, that’s a measurement size.
Next, we move to the left where we see two red plastic containers attached with strings to a stick of wood. That’s a homemade weighing scale. It works buy putting something that weighs about a pound or two, or whatever they are measuring inside one of the containers, and what they want to sell on the other side. When equilibrium is reached, in theory, you’re getting a pound of product. Needless to say, the measuring scales always tips in favour of the vendor somehow. 😉
Believe it or not, that’s how things are sold and measured in most markets, street vending and plazas.
© 2013, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.