The Sunday Market

This morning I woke up feeling fresh and awesome about a half hour before my alarm went off. I left early for breakfast, trying a different place, which unfortunately had the most horrible Nouvelle Vague playing on their stereo. I hate hate hate that band. Otherwise the place was pleasant enough. There were lots of westerners there, some of whom were talking about coursework and how much longer they’ll be in town, so I definitely got the impression that it was a popular hangout among the longer-stay people. I liked the other place, from two days ago, better.

Loi Kroh school isn’t open Sundays usually, so when I arrived, everything was shut up and Napa and I were the only ones there. She had voted after all, but had no more to say about the matter. Yesterday I heard a lot, but it was hard to follow, tales of corruption, poverty, government rice, oil, etc., but often she got stuck on words and the train of thought would falter.

Today’s practice was very nice. Less formal. We bowed to the sculpture of the teacher, but no chanting. We talked about the poses more, and corrected them more. I think I briefly dozed off during the ending relaxation. I also noticed that each day my lower back tolerates being rolled around on the ground during one of the closing poses much better.

During our break, Napa showed me around the garden, pointing out funny things, like where plants had grown from seeds thrown after someone had eaten, and the plastic turtle floating, covered with algae and looking entirely different, in the fish pond. Then she asked me if I was familiar with gooseberries. I said yes, but it turned out that we meant different things. And now I’ve also forgotten the Thai word. Sigh. Here are some pictures:

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They are very tart, and she explained many ways to prepare them while we munched on them, and she took them down from the tree using a repurposed bottle on a stick. You can also make a tea from the leaves, good for spleen. She gave me quite a few to eat later, as well. I kept thinking how, if I could get the pits out more easily, they’d make a wonderfully tart pie, maybe combined with something else, sweet & earthy.

After class, I had it in my head to enjoy an hour or so on one of those big touristy terraces in the center. The ones with loungy sofas and lanterns and froufrou drinks, etc., for lunch and an iced tea.

Apparently, everyone else had the same idea, because there was no seat to be found anywhere. So I found a cafe instead with as relaxed atmosphere, and a slightly less overboard decor. It’s market day, and things are already being set up all over town, and the muay thai truck is driving around announcing tonight’s fights over loudspeakers. I’m looking forward to the market, so I will continue this later. Now I must go nap and relax for a couple of hours.

Back again. I didn’t really nap, just hung out and relaxed. It was good, just what I needed.

Around 18:30, I left for the market, and I had a wonderful time. First I had a funny steamed bun, with red bean paste. Not the most delicious red bean bun I’ve ever had, but seriously cute! Mine is the one on the counter, beside the pig.

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And then I wandered, taking note of things I might want to pick up next week, for example. Eventually, I bought a pair of black pants in a style I like to wear when it’s warm. Then another. Then a beautiful silk flag, or wind catcher thingy.

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Bad photo, but I’ll take some photos at school next Sunday, where they’re hung all over, and you’ll see better then. I chose a blue one, like the one on the left. Not sure why.

After that I stopped for food, although I wasn’t very hungry. I went to the main food stall area. It’s amazing to me that I’ve been to this market once, 3 years ago, and I could vividly recall where to find things. Many of the stall keepers are in exactly the same place. One of them, without a doubt, was the same woman I haggled with over a bedspread last time.

Anyway, I saw mango with sticky rice and knew that was what I wanted. And luckily for me, she also had bamboo sticky rice, which I decided would make an excellent breakfast before class tomorrow. I haven’t scoped the walk there yet, so am unsure about options. I noticed these past days that not everywhere is open so early.

So, a little food later and I was thirsty, but nothing really appealed in the food area, so I headed back out to the main market. Basically, the Sunday market takes up the entire length of one of the main streets that crosses the entire old city, with side streets and temple grounds as well. It’s huge. And the later it gets, the more people pack in. By the time I finished my brief foray for edibles, traffic (pedestrians) was at a standstill. I pushed through when I could, but sometimes I just had to wait.

At one of these points I made eye contact with an old woman selling lovely pinkish pumice stones with bits of shiny in them. She was laughing at the jam, probably, or at my face, possibly, or who knows what. I looked at her stones. She mimicked scrubbing her arms with one. I put a look of alarm on my face and mimicked doing that to my feet, instead. She laughed and said “ka, ka,” which is “yes, yes.” The woman at the next stall leaned over and said “20 baht!” and I showed her how indeed, every stone was neatly labeled with the price. I smiled. And paid it. It cost me more than my meal. Ha! The old lady started to put it in as bag, but I motioned for her to stop. I had adequate bags already. I slipped it into my purse.

When I turned the corner I saw the most beautiful fisherman pants I’ve seen, in the cloth quality I’ve come to prefer. I bought 2 pair and asked if he’s always at that location. I may go back for more.

Then I decided to get the hell out. I needed at least 1 T-shirt for classes. My 2 are already sweaty, and I prefer t-shirts to tank tops for class, also because with my shoulders covered, I can go into wats politely on my way home. I will probably need to do some laundry later this week.

I got a T-shirt, one I liked, then got out of Dodge. At home, feeling like I’d overspent, I counted it all up. For 23 euros, I’d gotten 4 pairs of pants, a T-shirt, food + yummy passion fruit juice, a silk flag, and a pumice stone. Not too bad. Hooray!

Tomorrow: ITM, the school where most of my certificates come from. I’ve never been to the mother ship. Excited!

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