Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Garment District of Lima

Welcome to Gammara!

Gammara is a happ'n place, a kind of hive. Besides running into characters like this guy, we watched worker bees, young men and women, who run from store to store and from street to street with heavy loads of material, clothing, and even food packed on handcarts or push carts, a kind of dolly, but wide and roughly constructed. Crowds of shoppers push their way along the streets. The streets are walking malls. Anyone who drives has to find parking outside the shopping area which must be more than a mile square in area. Most people arrive and leave by cab. Clothing hangs from balconies, in windows, and on mannequins that look as if they have been used in car demolition advertisements. Some of the mannequins have missing limbs and broken or dented heads. Hangers suggest, in an exaggerated form, the figures of women and men. Blocks and blocks of fabric stores just boggle the shopper's mind. Some have the fabric artfully displayed. Others have the fabric hanging over doors, tables, or just in piles. One block may have curtain fabric for homes--kitchen, bathroom, windows, etc. Another block will have fabric for clothing--everything from filmy material to fine wool. It helps to go with someone who has been before and knows where the best value and variety are.

The only way we can get our bearings is to enter at Avenida Mexico where the taxis enter. The street is relatively calm in this picture. Two workers are carrying heavy bundles.

This is one of the mall stores where clothing of every sort hangs on the outside of the stores. It's hard to get a clear picture of any of the buildings because of the crowds. Also, it isn't a good idea to be seen carrying a camera. Gammara has a reputation for crime. That said, however, someone told us that the district has beefed up the security and is trying to make it safe for shoppers.

The blue contraption is a cart-like dolly strapped to the back of one of the workers who passed us earlier with a massive load of fabric strapped to the dolly. He was bent almost in half as he carried his load. He was running back for another load.

I wish these pictures were larger so the other buildings in the background were more visible. An open sweater market is on the right. Some stores are filled with sports clothing, or levis, or winter clothing; others are dedicated to notions. One store we saw had bags of buttons, maybe a 1000 in a bag. That same store had a display case of unpackaged zippers, hundreds of zippers. I wonder how one would buy a 7" navy blue zipper. How would the salesperson know how to find it?

These two characters were selling gum for a sole a package. You met one of them at the beginning of this blog. When the one in pink saw me taking a picture he came over to me and pressed a little package of gum balls into my hand and asked for a sole, the equivalent of 30 cents. That picture is the first one on the blog.

As we were leaving in the cab, I saw this--a man pulling a small cart loaded with carpets.

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