Thursday, May 13, 2010

Market Therapy

The clanging of polished steel milkpots as they ride 2-per-handlebar on the brightly decorated bicycle was never meant to be my alarm clock. That first rude awakening in Hotel Bangkok Inn (snickering at names in Bangkok seems almost mandatory) was in stark contrast to the amazing fiery orange sunlight framed by the smoky haze of old town.

It took me three days before I braved the walk down the dragon-adorned cherrywood staircase to search and destroy the source of this early morning racket. At 5am, and clad only in my boxers and a silk green robe with gold embroidery bought the evening before from a roadside stall, my eyes hadnt yet fully adusted to the brightness that greeted me as I stepped outside.

What greeted me can best be described as a cacophony of sounds, scents and sights.
It turns out that for 3 hours ech morning, from 5am to 8am, the road outside Hotel Bangkok Inn is transformed into the most boisterous fresh produce market in Asia.

I hardly recognised the grey cobblestone underneath my hideously thin-soled velvet slippers. It took me the better part of 5 minutes to decide which of my senses to adjust first, and im glad I settled on my hearing, or else I could easily have been plastered to the floor when the orange-cart whizzed by. The aisles between stalls were barely wide enough for 2 people walking side-by-side, let alone to accomodate bicycles, scooters, inquisitive scraggly dogs and little Thai kids running around in diapers and not much else.

The fact that nobody batted an eyelid in my direction as I lazied my way toward the sound of a sizzling grill, was testament to the fact that my scantily clad torso ranked low in interest when compared to the locals need for produce.

Pineapples in every shade of yellow, each larger than my head; coconuts split open to expose the polished marble sweetness inside; grapefruit so deeply red and tempting, the thickly cut slice offered to me burst with colour on my tongue before the bitterness hit my tastebuds; banana's which seemed to be complete meals on their own, meaty almost; melons so completely filled with sweet nectar, I scoffed at the traders suggestion that I drink the goodness straight out of the hole he had roughly chiselled on it. My smirk completely lost when the bountiful juice ran down my chin and spilt all over me like a can of paint splashed across a canvas.
I was tempted to end my morning cullinary excursion with the rich and creamy glass of milk being offered to me by an equally creamy Thai beauty, but the cow lingering not 10 feet away (truelly, an animal, not said beauty's mom) just kind of put me off the udder-shake.

I dont recall much else from my trip to the east, but that particular morning will forever have a special place on the mantlepiece of my senses.

Pick & Pays produce section just doesnt have the same memorable effect on my shopping outting.