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Seeking bargains, and hope, at the market swallowing Nicaragua's capital bit by bit

Seeking bargains, and hope, at the market swallowing Nicaragua's capital bit by bit

For years Oscar Arrechavala watched as the monster known as Mercado Oriental nibbled on the edges of his neighborhood.

Arrechavala could do nothing as the ever-growing, 130-block marketplace began to claim his barrio of Ciudad Jardin, leaving its people with a choice: Sell their homes to escape the market or learn to live surrounded by a throbbing complex of stalls, vendors and thousands of shoppers.

The 85-year-old Arrechavala stayed, adding tall metal bars to a gate guarding his modest house after someone climbed into his driveway and stole the tires off his car.

His street has for the moment avoided the fate of others nearby, but...

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