#8 from SE Asia. The local marketplaces

A local lake crab delicacy. Note: I simply could not get her to hold it without the tongs.

A local lake crab delicacy. Note: I simply could not get her to hold it without the tongs.

Local marketplaces have always been a joy of travel to me. These are often loud, chaotic affairs in the center of each town. Many have been going on for centuries, if not millennia, in the very same spot. I have visited them around the world. Often I discover entirely new foods; fruit and vegetables that I have never seen before. I try eating them. Once I literally threw away the part I was supposed to eat, and tried eating the part I was to throw away. To my embarrassment, the women in the market roared with laughter. I wonder how long afterward they told that story about the ‘dumb foreigner’.

The secret with local markets is to get there before sunrise. Much of the business is done in the cool part of the day. You will not have to worry about being too early.

Here are a few photos.

I had this curried dish of veggies, deep-fried tofu, and fish and chicken at sunrise. But for breakfast? It was fine.

I had this curried dish of veggies, deep-fried tofu, and fish and chicken at sunrise. But for breakfast? It was fine. It did put me out 60 cents US though.

In the most remote areas, I find fresh, alive seafood. I am impressed with their infrastructure. How do they do it?

In the most remote areas, I find fresh, alive seafood. I am impressed with their infrastructure. How do they do it?

More seafood. Some of it is cheaper than fruit here.

More seafood. Some of it is cheaper than fruit here.

This catfish had been known to grow to 600 lbs. They never let them get that big anymore.

This catfish had been known to grow to 600 lbs. They never let them get that big anymore.

Flowers flowers everywhere. In all the markets I have been to, the women control the flowers. Men dare not tread there.

Flowers flowers everywhere. In all the markets I have been to, the women control the flowers. Men dare not tread there.

Standard condiments could include a soy soy, a fish sauce, and spicy vinegar, several different types of chili sauces, and my favorites; ground up peanuts and fresh scallions.

Standard condiments could include a soy sauce, a fish sauce, and spicy vinegar, several different types of chili sauces, and my favorites; ground up peanuts and fresh scallions.

I believe these are snakeheads, the newly invasive fish in the USA. They can quickly grow to 50 kilos, survive in mud and cross over land, and eat everything, including largemouth bass for breakfast. Get ready, because they may be coming to your waters shortly.

I believe these are snakeheads, the newly invasive fish in the USA. They can quickly grow to 50 kilos, survive in mud and cross over land, and eat everything, including largemouth bass for breakfast. Get ready, because they may be coming to your waters shortly.

As in other Buddhist areas I have visited, the monks will, before sunrise, all walk silently to the marketplace. There the local peoples fill their pots with food. Everyone does this silently and with great reverence. The monks say nothing and make no response. They have been meditating already for hours.

As in other Buddhist areas I have visited, the monks will, before sunrise, all walk silently to the marketplace. There the local peoples fill their pots with food. Everyone does this silently and with great reverence. The monks say nothing and make no response. They have been meditating already for hours.

I find these all over Thailand: Living, whimsical plant sculptures.

I find these all over Thailand: Living, whimsical plant sculptures.

My home-away-from-home (for two days) My A-frame has water, A/C, one socket (for charging) and solar-heated hot water which is simply way too hot.  The price: $10 @ day.

My home-away-from-home (for two days)
My A-frame has water, A/C, one socket (for charging) and solar-heated hot water which is simply way too hot.
The price: $10 @ day.

Transport photos

These primitive peoples have lots of natural gas fill-up stations.

These primitive peoples have lots of natural gas fill-up stations.

A 60 year old, Series 1 Land Rover in good running shape.  I used to have one just about like this, about 45 years ago.

A 60 year old, Series 1 Land Rover in good running shape. I used to have one just about like this, about 45 years ago.

Want to start a transport company, but just don't have enough seed capital? Well just weld yourself a bus of your own.  Now, don't expect doors or safety rails, and forget about safety belts.  But I admire the ingenuity of someone to just 'build his own bus' from whatever parts he could schlep together. And yes, it does work. But did I ride in it? No. Why should I? I have a reliable bike, with working brakes!

Want to start a transport company, but just don’t have enough seed capital? Well just weld yourself a bus of your own.
Now, don’t expect doors or safety rails, and forget about seat belts.
But I admire the ingenuity of someone to just ‘build his own bus’ from whatever parts he could schlep together. And yes, it does work. But did I ride in it? No. Why should I? I have a reliable bike, with working brakes!

home made bus

6 Responses to #8 from SE Asia. The local marketplaces

  1. Susan Burik

    Dwight, this was a fascinating blog! It makes me want to see this stuff right now. I love the picture of the woman holding the giant insect with tongs. And you added many interesting touches, such as the photo of the topiary. Yet, a question I would ask myself would be, “How fresh is the fish, really, given that someone must transport it numerous miles to the Myanmar border?”

    So many things look very different and new there. I am captivated by this.

  2. Mark

    Markets look amazing DW. Keep posting.

    I’d love to have that old Land Rover.

  3. Jesse

    I’m pretty sure you would have to pry me away from eating all day in the market.

  4. charlie roadkill

    i just had an accident yesterday and am briefly laid up tips of fingers on rite hand got smashed and my left foot, i was walikng, still on my feet. just keep movin… hey susan, dwight will see ya in may. have a bunch of questions, thinkin mo-ped:)

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