El Suapero Street Vendor is really important, because Dominicans cannot live without their suapes and they like to get new mops often.
These salesmen walk the streets yelling out “Suape, suape!” They carry new mops flung over their shoulder. Some mops are white and others have colored fiber heads. Some are on smooth factory made handles and others are hand hewn using a stick. Sometimes you might see a suapero selling a few other household necessities as well but many are just satisfied selling their mops.
La Paletera and La Merchanta both push carts around with food items for sale that they think people might want to purchase. La Paletera pushes a cart usually filled with candies and cookies while the Merchanta could push a cart or hold a bucket or basket atop their heads filled with different edible items.
La Paletera / The Pallet Pusher
La Paletera Street Vendor usually has a cart, sometimes the cart is an old baby buggy or stroller, that has a box on top laden with treats. Many times this box even has drawers so they can carry more items in a small space. They sell all types of ready made, packaged dulces y golosinas/ candies and treats and snack foods. There are galletitas/ cookies or crackers, cigarrillos/ cigarettes, billetes de la lotería/ lottery tickets and much more. They are usually around where there are public events, busy street corners and Hospitals.
La Marchanta (e)/ The Merchant Woman
La Marchanta (or Merchanto for males) Street Vendor usually carries a huge basket on her head filled with fruits, vegetables, flowers and whatever else she can fit into the basket and mound atop her head. It is quite amazing the load she can carry on her head and still walk at a decent pace.
She usually comes abound around lunch time for the lady of the house to buy what she needs for lunch so she does not have to leave the house. They might carry some avocados or bananas and some carry a variety of sweets also. The male version, El Marchante, usually has a large box or a tricycle with a cart offering his variety of wares.
The Caféro Street Vendor walks the streets or has a designated place where they sit. They have thermoses filled with coffee. Some of these street vendors also have hot tea and hot chocolate in their thermos.
The Caféro carries a pack or bag filled with condiments. Stirring sticks, sugar, powdered cream and whatever else he may need. The coffee is served in small plastic cups or shot sized containers. Also, be aware, the coffee is usually pre-sweetened and is usually very very sweet. I think they use the coffee to flavor their sugar not the other way around.
The call of the Caféro is usually a very loud and unique whistle that announces their presence. They are very popular in the early morning hours and when everyone is feeling sleepy after lunch trying to get a caffeine boost to last the rest of the day.
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