As an immigrant I am enchanted by anything, which brings back memories of my homeland, Iran. I have searched for such familiar scenes, sounds, tastes, and scents ever since I came here. One area I find enchanting is San Pedro Street Farmers Market in downtown San Jose. I work in San Jose near that area, and every Friday in the summer time I go there as it is near my work place. Whenever I approach San Pedro Farmers Market, my senses are awakened and I feel alive with the vibrant pulse of the market place.
San Pedro Market is a colorful scene with so many fruits and flowers glowing in the sun. There are so many people from all races, vivid and colorful, walking through crowded Market Street. They are woven together like a Persian carpet, a beautiful tapestry of races from around the world.
I love listening to the voices of buyers and sellers who converge on this market from so many different places. The recordings of musicians selling their CDs adds lively background music to this panoramic scene. I like being among crowds of people who are speaking their native languages. When their sounds blend with each other, it is like the songs of birds in a Persian garden - harmonic but each one distinctive from the others.
My eyes follow the vendors as they bring very exotic food and fruit to the market and display it beautifully in their stalls. Some of them are from Middle Eastern countries, and recognizing one with familiar tastes, they beckon me over to sample their offerings. A lot of dishes such as Kebabs, Saffron rice and special ethnic desserts like Baklava, which are not found in ordinary shops or restaurants, are available there. Besides the food, the kindness and respectful manners remind me of Persian hospitality toward guests.
One of the most wonderful aspects of the market is the mixture of scents wafting through the air – a pleasant aroma of flowers, spices and food. The pungent and sweet scents stir memories of food and special ceremonies back home. Whenever I close my eyes in the middle of the rows, I imagine myself in a Persian bazaar among my people, and we are searching for our lost fragrance.
Going to the San Pedro Market fills me with pleasant sensations and lulls me into nostalgic memories from many years ago. The market’s spaciousness and diversity, as colorful and lustrous as Persian ceramics, soothe the melancholy homesickness of emigrants like me.
Written by Sassan Pedramrazi