Bizarre bazaar / Bazar extraño

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

WHEN WE ARRIVED IN SEVILLA in 2011, we were fortunate to have met an American couple who had just taken a one-year break there after falling in love with the city. They sometimes had a peculiar perspective but they gave us some good recommendations and introduced us to a local who became a really good friend and an exceptional resource.

In one of our first conversations with the Americans, although I don’t remember what we were in the market for, we were told, “Oh, just go to the Chinese for that.”

‘The what?!?’ we responded in shock.

It was explained to us that the discount stores were “all owned by ‘Chinese’ and so everyone just calls them ‘El Chino’.” It seemed offensive to us, so we avoided the term. Ironically, there was one of those shops right on our plaza with the official name (on the signage): “El Chino.”

Our friend Kathleen appropriately calls them bazars, which is what they are (bazar in contemporary Spanish means variety store).

To add to the confusion, that same American acquaintance in Sevilla told me about a “great Chinese” across from the former train station. She said it was owned by an Indian family. I asked facetiously, “Why don’t you call it ‘The Indian,’ then?” She didn’t get it and responded, “No, it’s a Chinese.” Bizarre!

I think I’ll stick with ‘bazar’. The first photo is from Google maps of the bazar that was called El Chino on our plaza in Sevilla. The rest are examples from my walks around Fuengirola.


CUANDO LLEGAMOS A SEVILLA EN en 2011, tuvimos la suerte de haber conocido a una pareja estadounidense que acababa de tomarse un descanso de un año allí después de enamorarse de la ciudad. A veces tenían una perspectiva peculiar, pero nos dieron algunas buenas recomendaciones y nos presentaron a un local que se convirtió en un muy buen amigo y un recurso excepcional.

Sin embargo, en una de nuestras primeras conversaciones con los estadounidenses, aunque no recuerdo para qué estábamos en el mercado, nos dijeron: “Oh, ve a los chinos para eso”.

“¿¡¿Que qué?!?”, respondimos en estado de shock.

Se nos explicó que las tiendas de descuento eran “todas propiedad de chinos, por lo que todo el mundo las llama ‘El Chino’”. Nos pareció ofensivo, así que evitamos el término. Irónicamente, había una de esas tiendas justo en nuestra plaza con el nombre oficial (en la señalización): “El Chino”.

Nuestra amiga Kathleen los llama apropiadamente bazares, que es lo que son.

Para aumentar la confusión, ese mismo conocido estadounidense en Sevilla me habló de un “gran chino” frente a la antigua estación de tren. Dijo que era propiedad de una familia india. Le pregunté en broma: “¿Por qué no lo llamas ‘El indio’, entonces?” Ella no lo entendió y respondió: “No, es un chino”. ¡Extraño!

Creo que me quedaré con “bazar”; la gente tendrá que ponerse al día. La primera foto es de los mapas de Google del bazar que se llamaba El Chino en nuestra plaza de Sevilla. El resto son ejemplos de mis paseos por Fuengirola.

En inglés, bazaar significa bazar. Bizarre signífica extraño. Bazaar y bizarre se pronuncian de la misma manera.

On our plaza in Sevilla. I don’t know if they’re still in business, but when we lived there it was called “El Chino.”
En nuestra plaza de Sevilla. No sé si todavía están en el negocio, pero cuando vivíamos allí se llamaba “El Chino”.
“Julia” was so successful, they expanded to the other side of the building entrance. They only opened one side this summer (and need to replace their sign).
“Julia” tuvo tanto éxito que se expandieron al otro lado de la entrada del edificio. Solo abrieron un lado este verano (y necesitan reemplazar su letrero).

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

27 thoughts on “Bizarre bazaar / Bazar extraño”

    1. Jim:
      I wouldn’t call them fancy (although SOME are very nice), and they have an even bigger variety than Dollar Store. Here in Fuengirola, many have a large selection of clothing. I don’t remember that being the case in Sevilla.

    1. Bob:
      Some even display Fuengirola fashions in their windows. Plaid shirts. Different color and pattern plaid shorts with striped caps. So you don’t even have to give any thought to your wardrobe.

    1. Debra:
      Some are truly amazing and they can be like those old five and dimes with stacks and stacks of stuff in narrow aisles. A bit much for me to take.

  1. I had a aunt who used to send me up to “the korean” a corner convenience neighborhood store owned by a sweet Korean family. They always have me candy.

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      Some things never change. I wonder what people called my grandfather’s produce market!

  2. You’ve got me humming the 59th St. Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy), the Harpers Bizarre version 🙂 That song suits these pictures.

    1. Deedles:
      OK. So I’ve been singing that song since I read you comment yesterday. Argh. (But at least it’s a good song!)

      1. Deedles:
        Now you of course must know that I wouldn’t be focused on any of the straightforward lyrics. What goes through my head are lines like this: I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep let the morning time drop all its petals on me life I love you all is GROOVY!

        Remember HAIR? Claude Hooper Bukowski finds that it’s groovy to hide in a movie pretends he’s Fellini and Antonioni and also his countryman Roman Polanski all rolled into one one Claude Hooper Bukowski

      2. Scoot, I’m way too lazy to write all of that! I love the music of Hair, so I fast forward my dvd to the songs 🙂

  3. It is similar here in Belize, although often more overtly racist. The shops and the people who own them are called “Chinee” and sometimes an adult male will be called a “China boy”. We also have a Fan Fan shop in a nearby village, but I have never been inside it. Most of the convenience-type stores are owned by Chinese. They are the closest thing in Belize to supermarkets with a little “variety” thrown in the mix. Years ago while shopping in one of the local stores we frequent, I was asking for some tofu, which I had seen in the city but not locally. The store didn’t sell tofu, but the owner actually went upstairs to his residence over the store and brought down some of his personal stock of tofu for me. Would not let me pay for it and was actually happy to share with someone who likes to cook with tofu. What a sweetheart!

    1. Wilma:
      Your tofu exchange is touching and I’m sure was so meaningful for that shop owner. Sadly, much of Spain still allow black face in Semana Santa parades (Balthazar’s entourage], and people don’t get the racist insensitivity. It’s not consistent, though, and there are plenty of signs of enlightenment. Some cities have banned the practiced and I haven’t seen it here in Fuengirola. Don’t know if it’s not permitted or if people just made the decision to not do it.

    1. Anon:
      There are a number of terms brought over by the English tourists that we could all do without. But we’re ALL culpable.

  4. Reminds me of the Hundred Yen Stores in Japan (much better than dollar stores)–though not much clothing is sold in them.

    1. Mary:
      I don’t remember clothing being sold in the shops in Sevilla. Here in Fuengirola, some of the stores are enormous and have unbelievable inventory — clothes, underwear, shoes, furniture, pet supplies and furniture, seasonal items. Amazing.

  5. If I saw a store named Hiper Fu here in America, I would assume it was Asian, though of course my assumption would be based on a stereotype.

  6. Bazar is also the term in France for these kinds of places. One of the biggest department stores in Paris is called le BHV, le Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville. The City Hall Bazar, because it’s right across the street from city hall. A great store.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I do have one favourite bazar here in town. It’s about a 25 minute walk and has the best selection and lots of really good quality things. And now even a large furniture department. Of course that’s the shop where I found the Chigaco sweatshirt.

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