Saturday, June 19, 2010

The classic Asian Wet Market.

This picture above isn't quite what I just stumbled upon this afternoon, but it certainly served it's purpose.

As you all know, I live in the tiny village of Klong Tong N├╗ea, where there are only two small Mom & Pop stores to the right and left of me.

The one on the left is Took's store, about one kilometer from my cottage.

It's usually swarmed with people and is on the wrong side of the road. Saturday's at this time are bad since all the local men are at her store betting on the Muai Thai boxing matches. So, trying to get groceries there at this time is damn near impossible.

To the right of me, past the bridge over the Tong River, is the other Mom & Pop store, which is just too basic, and way, way overpriced.

So, this afternoon, I decided to go exploring and once I got to the main road, instead of heading right to Took's store, I turned left and headed toward Ban Khuang Niang, where Mam and I originally got the motorbike blessed several years ago, at a popular Buddhist Temple there.

I hadn't been down that way for a long, long time. Possibly three years. I don't know why, but I just haven't.

Nothing on my motorcycle works.

The speedometer doesn't work, the odometer doesn't work, the gas gauge doesn't work...so, I'm only guessing.

I was traveling probably fifty to sixty kilometers per hour, and passed mostly jungle and a few rubber factories along the way, on both sides of the road. It was probably four or five minutes when I began approaching a small village. But I can't remember the name...Kinang something...I'll have to check it again.

I slowed, and saw a store to my left, which looked promising and once I stopped it appeared I hit pay dirt!

The store was more a market than a Mom & Pop store. It was small, but compact and deceiving in size, since in the front of the store was roughly six large freezers and coolers containing a goldmine of meats, vegetables, and other goodies, which I'd yet to discover.

I initially parked my motorbike and walked up to the first counter, arousing quite a bit of interest I might add.

Places like this don't see farangs on motorcycles very often...let alone farangs period.

I wandered up and began perusing their wares.

Nice tomatoes! Small, like all Thai tomatoes, but not the typical withered pieces of crap you get at other markets. I began picking a few and a rather attractive Thai woman around forty to fifty years old, smelling delightfully of a rather seductive perfume, showed up and offered me a bag.

I put about six nice tomatoes in the bag and heard somebody in the background say, "Tomato!" Thai's practicing their English.

So, I began looking for a Kumquat. Ha! No, just kidding...

I scoured the area picking up nice veggies here and there, and heard the perfume woman say something to me.

"Alai?" I asked...

However rude that sounded, I don't know, but it was my best Thai given the circumstance.

She answered, saying something I just didn't understand, which isn't odd, but it's certainly frustrating. She might have been speaking Southern dialect, which of course I don't understand, nor recognize.

"Pom poot Thai, neet noi." I exclaimed, which is pretty universal for "I only speak a little Thai," which I hate saying, since at this point in my life I can pretty well get by with speaking Thai, but I cannot speak the Southern dialect.

"Ah...pom poot Thai neet noi, salapat." I'm not exactly sure what "Salapat," means, but it's exactly what she said. So, I just nodded and kept moving.

Perhaps it meant, "I would like to have crazy sex with you on a chandelier," but then I just can't be sure. Besides that, I'm not really into chandelier's.

I'm one of those people, you know, as a kid when I'd visit your house and you'd let me inside your bedroom, I would explore....

Certainly you know the type.

I'd begin opening your drawers, boxes, envelopes...I just couldn't seem to control myself. I suddenly became this invasive little monster. Once I was bored with your bedroom, I'd move to your bathroom, or your mother's bedroom...better yet, your SISTERS bedroom....

You can tell a lot about a person or family by looking in their medicine chest.

I can't explain this obsession, but I do know I'm not alone. There are other "Sherlocke's" out there...I know, I've met them.

Some kids were greatly bothered by my prying. Others couldn't care less.

Think about it...who would you want to befriend? The secretive ones, or the laid back ones? For the life of me I can't remember which one's I befriended.

So, here I was at this roadside market-of-sorts in Ban Khuang Niang, and I was once again exercising my exploring rights. I began opening freezer and cooler doors left and right, and as a result, I found a goldmine!

A mere five to eight minutes from my cottage was a mini-market that not only had fresh vegetables, but also had frozen meats...

Chicken, whole and cut-up...pork, basically fresh, but some pretty weird cuts.

I picked up a small chunk of pork wrapped in plastic that didn't have a lot of fat on it, and asked the woman...

"Tao Rai?" (How much?)

"Jet sip hok baht," Seventy-six baht. Not bad for the huge chunk I was holding in my hand. Well, at least that's what I thought due to my vast knowledge of Thai meats...

In my brain, as I was walking around looking at the various vegetables and meats, and creating a recipe in my mind...

Kow phat moo (Pork fried rice) ...duay gung? (with shrimp?)

No, I didn't have enough money to throw to the gods of seafood.

Gung in Thai is Shrimp.

But, here in Southeast Asia, due to the Australian influence, the English vernacular is not "shrimp," but "Prawns."

I'm not sure where that term came from, but my take is a prawn is larger than a shrimp...of course nobody furnishes measurements for these weird words...

So, I finished my shopping and thanked the sweet-smelling lady, who gave me a great smile as she was bent over supplying my eyes with a lot of candy....eye candy that is...

"Cleavage" as you call it in the West.

Gotta love it!

So, now I've discovered a new place to shop.

Replete with cleavage!

It's along the lines of getting a new apartment in town and finally figuring out where the Extra-mart is...

Life is good.

-Jeeem-

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