Sunday, November 27, 2011

Markets: Rain or Shine or Freezing Fog

10:20 AM and the sun is shining!

Every Saturday, I drag myself out of bed, throw on my giant wool sweater and fleece headband, and I walk down to the river. Well, I'm not going to lie. I walk until I see a tram headed in the right direction and take that for a few minutes. It shaves a bit of time off my journey and warms me up on the way.

Down at Karlovo Namesti, a few blocks from the Dancing House, is the Vyton farmers market. I went for the first time about two months ago, and on that particular day, there had been an early freeze and I went out of the house unprepared. I scored some swiss chard but when it came time for me to pay for it, I couldn't move my fingers enough to take the money out of my wallet. The vendor thought I was hilarious.

Carb overload.
***Side note: It has become cold enough on a daily basis that my little munchin students have expanded their clothing vocabulary extensively. Our call and response sounds like this: "OK! Put on your... JACKET and your... HAT and your... BOOTS  and your... SCARF and your... HAT and your... PANTS... and your... GLOVES!"

It's a little bit of Czech insanity that spring, summer, fall and winter, they persist in having an outdoor market by the river. I can only imagine how beautiful it's going to be in the spring, but when it's 0 degrees outside, doesn't it seem a little ridiculous that people would still want to buy their organic vegetables and fruit and meat outside?

It's crazy but I love it. And what makes this market different from other markets I've been to? Well, it's not as colorful or abundant as any market in Taiwan. They don't have hanging intestines on rusty carts. It's not quite as community driven as a market in Davis or Alameda, where you get your produce along with balloon animals, a rescued pet and campaign buttons.

And this is why I love traveling: because no matter where you go, the world bears so many similarities, but with appropriate and sometimes quirky regional differences.

So Czech markets:

1. People love to put their stuff in handmade wicker baskets.
2. There are at least 5 dried meat and dried fish stands.
And he died so happily...
3. The line for fresh butter and eggs always has about 20 people in it.
4. There is more bread than you and all the swans in the river could ever eat.
5. How about some hot wine with your morning shopping?
6. Gotta love those root vegetables.
7. This must be the best country ever for buying honey and all of its by-products.
8. Who doesn't love free samples of lard mixed with dried onions?
9. Where children eat enormous cakes for breakfast.
10. I love them.