More Market Musings

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December 22nd 2011
Published: June 10th 2017
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Let's go back to the market. I go there at least twice each day, once in the morning to buy my fresh young green coconut, and maybe bananas, oranges, mangoes, and then again in the late afternoon to buy dinner, usually a mixed salad. The market is very colorful; all colors of umbrellas bash against each other, protecting each vendor from the hot sun. The umbrellas are old, faded, ripped in places, and their hanging threads brush my hair as I walk by; many Thais are very short by US standards, but I have to duck and dodge umbrellas constantly. The umbrellas survived the floods here too, and still have enough good use to them, so, dirty, and torn, every day they are put up, and every evening they are taken down to wait for the morning. This is the way it is in Thailand.

This market is different from the night market in Hua Hin; here the vendors put their stalls wherever they can squeeze in. In Hua Hin it was much more organized, but Hua Hin is a city where many tourists go; also people from Bangkok escaped to Hua Hin when the flooding started. The funny thing is, even though Hua Hin appeals to more monied people, prices are much cheaper than they are at this market. I can't figure that out. I also can't figure out what the vendors do with all the fish that don't get sold each day. Do they throw them back in the river?

The other day I walked between the stalls selling fish. The smell is not pleasant! And, as a vegan, it is disturbing to see all these creatures swimming in crowded little bowls, awaiting being someone's dinner (although they can't know that). Usually I see many different kinds of fish, and eels; this day I stopped short. In various sized bowls there were turtles! Many little ones in one bowl, fewer medium ones in the next bowl, even fewer large ones in the next bowl, and one sad poor very big turtle in the last bowl, trying to climb out. I wanted to buy them all, to free them back into the river! But I knew they would probably all be caught again the next day. One of the turtle vendors kept trying to sell me her turtles for dinner; she was very persistent. I told her "Mai!" NO! And walked away. I have not gone in that part of the market since then.

There are many dark passageways threading through the market. Some I completely avoid as there are whole pigs' heads, chickens (of course; think of windows in any Chinatown you have been in), beheaded fish, and more pig parts. Blood is all over the floors in these passages; vendors occasionally hose down their areas with water, so then you have to walk over the water mixed with animal blood. These passageways are very sad places, to me and the dead animals.

But many vendors sell beautiful things as well. Gorgeous flowers! It started right before the king's birthday, December 5. All of a sudden there were flower vendors sprinkled throughout the marketplace's winding trails. I can't identify them, but the colors are so vibrant and attractive! Very beautiful.

One more thing people not from 3rd world countries would not like (such a negative start to a sentence) is the flies that sit on the food. I always try to shoo them away, and most vendors smile at my futile attempts, but they apparently don't care. It is futile, but a good stimulation for the immune system. We never really know what we're buying at any US supermarket anyway, nor in the restaurants we choose. If we actually saw what went on in restaurants' kitchens, we would never eat out. So why worry about flies?


22nd December 2011

I like your descriptions, it makes me want to visit! You do a great job making the reader feel like they are there with you!

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