Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mekong Delta markets

We visited a lot of markets, definitely, and it was fun going with a guide because we could ask questions and get the inside story -- well, kind of. His English was 100% better than my Vietnamese, but his vocabulary was not as rich as his stories he wanted to tell, so we kind of bumped along. The markets all kind of resembled one another, with the exception of the floating markets.

coconuts for cooking -- the green ones are for drinking.

lots of different fruits; they call the big red grapes American something. Not American grapes -- something else. American something, I can't remember.

Mekong prawns

so many kinds of fish -- some from the river, some from the rice fields

lots of fish and shellfish and eels, which were always trying to escape -- and some did.

gorgeous-looking stuff to eat, as you can see

the meat didn't look quite as delicious, and as we realized, we'd probably been eating meat that looked like this. as in, hanging in the air and attracting flies. ignorance is bliss, because it was all delicious.

ok, see those things there, the pink ones on the right? rice field rats. yeah.

softshelled crabs from the rice fields. the fish and shellfish from the rice fields are always much smaller than the river versions, and often quite different-looking.
But the floating markets were something else entirely. There's a big one at Cai Be, which we saw the moment we got on our boat and weren't quite oriented. But we came to another one on our second day; for this one, there are approximately 300 boats that collect there every single day of the year. They're kind of like wholesalers; boats from the small village markets come out to the floating market and buy lots of produce that they take back to sell. The boats clump up and tie themselves together, as a function of what they sell. So the turnip boats are usually tied together, the pineapple boats, the yam boats, etc. And the coolest thing of all is that they hang what they sell from tall poles, so you can see from a distance -- ah! There are the turnip boats!

people busy buying and selling

enlarge this -- it's a turnip vendor working, but observing from their boat is a family with their dog. it's adorable.

Pineapples for sale!

it's vast, the floating market

in addition to the poles advertising their wares, the boats also have television antennas.

coconuts for sale on this one; and the motor out the back is ingenious. they can tip it so even in the shallowest of waters they have engine power.
The markets are usually the highlight of the trip for Marc, and I loved them too.

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