I obviously need a better strategy. Not being a lover of fish, seafood, or anything bearing the smell of either (or raw meat, for that matter), I take big gulps in air that is relatively fresh, and then try to walk swiftly by those stalls which offend my senses. In more crowded markets, it takes a good long while to get by the crowds in order to exhale and begin the intake again. Sometimes a headache even begins to creep in, and my cheeks become a little more flushed than usual in the muggy heat.
But I love markets. I can’t NOT visit them.
I love the array of fresh produce, and here in Cambodia, there are more unrecognizable items than familiar. I love the sounds: the bartering, the calling out to check stock behind the tables, all in a swirl of foreign tones. And the people are most intriguing of all, their resilience to sit in tiny stalls for hours on end, the children who cling to their parents as they dart around to fill bags.
It a is rush to try to cover as much of the maze of stalls as my body will allow, all the while being cognizant of my impending headache and sensitive gag reflex. And for a few minutes in the Kandal Market in Phnom Penh on a Saturday, a large market visited almost entirely by locals, Pete and I frantically shot some video so that you could get a sense of it. It has many of the sights and sounds – all that’s missing is some “scratch and sniff” video technology. (But perhaps that is a good thing…for me, anyways.)
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