Maria was one of the most captivating characters in the marketplace. Sitting among her pungent wares, she scolded us fiercely for refusing to buy. Seeing us squirm, she threw her head back, closed her twinkling eyes, and hooted with mirth. Among so many brightly clad Theta women, Maria was conspicuous not for her appearance—her slight frame was shrouded in drab blues and browns— but for her voice and manner. The other women made little pyramids of brilliant red and yellow tomatoes, tied spinach leaves into lustrous bunches, measured snowy mounds of rice into brown paper cones, and chatted amiably with their customers. Maria's restless fingers turned the leathery fish in the baskets around her, and as if to compensate for its uninviting appearance, she yelled its virtues at the crowd.