Friday, 12 December 2008

Port Blair - Market Day

This morning it was time to do some provisioning for the boat and I set out with Richard to the Port Blair Market.

Holy Cow

Like any market in Asia it takes some getting used to (and an insensitive nose) if you are from Europe or the US where everything is vacuum packed or frozen and laid out in wide aisles with tiles and air conditioning and so on...

The market here was separated in meat, fish and vegetable sections. First we went to get some chicken, they were held alive in coops and after choosing the chicken we wanted we watched them having their necks cut-off. After that they were thrown inside a cement box with a lid. I assume they got to run out their energy inside there. We did not linger and went for vegetables and a more pleasant odour.

Buy fish?

After veggies we went to buy fruit and then we took a round at the fish market. I saw a huge red snapper, barracuda among all fish (BIG fish) on display. Then it was time to get some daal, the choice was huge but according to Vivek in Mumbai it can be double up. I saw also shops selling spices of all sorts, they do not call India the Land of Spices for nothing.

Spice trader

When we went back to the vegetable stall to pick up and pay for our stuff we passed a tarpaulin laid out on the ground in the sun with fish on it to dry I saw something peculiar. I was standing near the vegetable stall and I watched a big cow amble around the narrow lane and eventually she walked on the tarp with fish and stopped right there, next thing I saw was that the cow started urinating. It was flowing out of the cow by the liter. The fish was showered with piss everywhere. Once finished the cow strolled on. After a few minutes the fish Owner appeared and he just piled up the fish, wiped the piss off the tarp and re-arranged his fish to dry. I believe that eventually he would sell the fish to some unsuspecting customers, I wonder if they would notice a strange taste in their curry. While we went off I signaled to the guy, made two horns out of my fingers and then showed urinating and he asked "did u piss here?". Errrrr...I kept on walking.

Richard in dhal shop

Oh well, once we got all our stuff packed in Johnson's car we went for a fellow that was squeezing fresh sugar cane juice for 10Rs a glass. Vivek claimed that he tasted fermentation but I did not. I told him that if it would be fermented it would be much more expensive. Richard went via the paan shop and we headed for the ship again.

As a footnote I can't but help notice that cows in India enjoy total freedom. Similar circumstances, I believe, do not exist anywhere else in the world, the cows roam around the streets like stray dogs and eat what they like and sleep where they like. Talk about animal rights, ha-ha.

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