Markets Make the World Go Round
I come from a land dominated by towering supermarkets with larger-than-life produce sections containing everything from local fare to exotically sourced produce and products (read : traveled 10,000 miles). Avocados are not always in season and neither are pineapples. But big companies make this a reality for supermarkets by exporting from various countries around the world to feed the ever-growing demand for everything, all the time, anytime.
It is easy to forget that many cultures rely solely on what is in season, and not what they wish. A trip to the local market is an easy way to decipher what fruits and vegetables are abundant at that time of year.
In many corners of the world, local still reigns supreme. In America that means farmer’s markets, in Indonesia that means the only market.
My market trips were usually just to buy produce, so I do not have as many pictures as I would like. I also have this little problem, as some of my close friends know, that I strongly dislike bringing my Nikon around in Third World countries. It makes me feel like an asshole. It makes me seem like an asshole. But sometimes, I put the strap on my shoulder, hide the camera with my sarong and shoot from my hip. No focusing, no settings, just blind shooting to see what I come up with.
All of the following photographs are from the Kuta, Lombok weekly markets. Every day the market sold fish, twice a week it sold everything from bananas to shampoo. It was the sole market for the busy town, where most of the locals did their weekly shopping.
Hand fashioned knives. I purchased a smaller curved blade knife with a carved handle for an inflated price, around $5 USD. After haggling, the man still giggled to himself and I could hear him saying “silly white girl” to his friends in Bahasa. I don’t mind, the knife is beautiful and one of a kind.
The madness outside my temporary home at the Kuta Bay Homestay. It was thrilling to see all the goods arrive and come in on cimodos, horse-drawn carriages. Oftentimes it carried the goods and the entire family.
Whenever I feel particularly fed up with the grocery store produce section, I remind myself of the madness in the markets of Asia, turn around and walk out the door. It was a refreshing experience to bypass the middleman at the grocery store. Buy local. Buy in season. Farmers’ markets are where it’s at, you may not step in horse shit, nor accidentally trod on dried chillies, but you will be helping those who need it most.