Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Paksé Morning Market - November 24th, 2010

Morning Market Paksé

Few things bring joy to my life like a morning market. Unlike the one in Vientiane the morning market in Paksé is brand-new.

There is an energy, a vibration, that exists in popular markets that we in North America have already forgotten. It doesn’t take much for a Torontonian to leave the embattled suburbs and go to the St. Lawrence Market right downtown to get a taste of the beauty and spontaneity of a real market place. And yet so few of them do so, preferring sterile Muzak and aluminum perfection to real life.

And so here it is: the generous hustle and bustle, the jostling and perfumes, the heat and the passion of yet another great Oriental marketplace.

The main thing that stands out is that this great Oriental marketplace is right on the broad and fishable Mekong and is literally swimming with seafood. Fish the size of small cars sit freshly fished beside families of frogs swooped from a swamp and held together by bits of string. Unlike the markets in Vietnam, there is no vocal competition for clients; no-one is calling out and the only sounds are those of shuffling feet or the whacking of knives against cutting boards as the fish are cleaned and cut into pieces. Many of the fish are live and so there is the steady humming of pumps to provide them with air.

We arrived at about 8 in the morning and you could tell that the market had been up and vibrant for hours; we had got there for the long stretch.

And so the Far East goes about its business, with an everyday sort of determination, a clinging to goals and the meager eking out of a daily living.

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