ARGENTINA: In much of South and Central America, outdoor markets, or mercados, are a common sight to see. In Buenos Aires, we would spend our weekends wandering the ferias, taking in all of the sights (tables/blankets of items for as far as the eye could see), sounds (street musicians and Tango), and smells (dulce de leche, empanadas, asados/ parilladas, alfajores, choripán, Yerba Mate tea). A few of my favorites sights were flipbooks of San Telmo-Buenos Aires, a figurine of Don Quijote made out of recycled leather, and a street performer dressed entirely in gold paint that made me jump a mile when he moved after I had believed him to be a statue!
In class, students combine what they have learned about other countries, and set up small businesses around the room. They “sell” anything from stuffed animals, plastic food, and color printouts of famous paintings, to faux alpaca scarves, Incan blankets, and other realia, such as handmade [paper] abanicos, or tickets to La Alhambra, Teatro Colón, Don Quijote performances, etc. We mix cultures here but always charge and pay in pesos argentinos! I usually play music in the background when students are working, to create a more authentic classroom setting.