Lost in the Markets of Asia

I was momentarily blinded as I entered the labyrinth of makeshift booths. The simple relief of stepping out of the blinding sun into the relative cool of the market stalls was temporary as I moved further into the crush of bodies surrounding the overloaded tables.

Under cover in SIem Reap

Under cover in SIem Reap

I take my time, soaking in the ambiance of it all, stopping often to inspect a new find, take photos and make an occasional purchase, but could have stayed far longer. Jim enjoys browsing markets around the world as well as I, but certainly not with the same level of passion. The same excitement that draws me to linger in a grocery store at home, becomes greatly intensified in the markets of the world. My tastebuds salivate at the sight of so much glorious abundance before me and recipes race through my head. It’s nearly impossible to refrain from buying everything in sight.

Open air in Battambang

Open air in Battambang

On the water in Thailand

On the water in Thailand

I am intrigued by the astonishing variety, shape and color of the fruits and vegetables. Just when I was sure I’d seen every unique option available, I am fascinated to find a number of new and unusual choices and eagerly engage the vendors, attempting to learn about these delights, all without the benefit of a common language.

Variety in Mui Ne

Variety in Mui Ne

 

Streetcorner in India

Streetcorner in India

The markets of SE Asia are ripe with possibilities, displaying not just produce but fish of every sort, from slimy eels to scaly frogs. Live chickens wait under bamboo cages, cackling happily, unaware that upon meeting their new owners their time will come quickly to an end.

Fresh Fish in Hanoi

Fresh Fish in Hanoi

 

Market chicken Bali

Market chicken Bali

Gorgeous flowers of every imaginable size and color brighten the scene and their sweet scent gives a partial relief from the combination of sweaty bodies, fish, and meat “marinating” in the steamy jungle heat.

Beauty in Saigon

Beauty in Saigon

I love the idea of the market culture. I love shopping daily for the freshest ingredients. I love the open-air, alfresco lifestyle. I love being able to buy colorful umbrellas, intricately decorated tea sets, and produce in the same place you can shop for cookware and live meat. I love becoming familiar with the vendors and they becoming familiar with me.

Umbrellas in Luang Prabang

Umbrellas in Luang Prabang

 

Tea time in Nha Trang

Tea time in Nha Trang

No matter how many times my travels have brought me to this region of the world, I never tire of the spending endless hours wandering through the markets of Asia.

 

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