Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'll take just one please...

Open markets on the streets seem to swirl with a couple of things, a combination of both hope and desperation. Some people avoid shopping for produce along the streets, opting for the promised produce safety of a store. The fruits of their labor, along with the brightly coloured umbrellas trim this thoroughfare. There is just something about these markets that spring up on the sidewalks that I can't resist. It is beyond the carefully sectioned off bowls of fruit and vegetables that are put up for sale...all of it seems a little like some one's life on display. Often the produce you find out on the sidewalks is a higher quality that you find in the supermarkets at a fraction of the cost. I stopped by this older man's stand. Large bowls of apples and potatoes, with plastic green crates all around. The apples had a smell as if they had just been freshly picked. I hovered and picked up one apple, and laid down a note for the dear man. He was grabbing a bowl to wrap up for me, and I shook my head, "No, I don't need all of those apples. Just one apple please." I held up my index finger with the apple and smiled. He looked confused for a moment and then smiled. I was preparing to walk off, but turned and asked if I could take his picture. He nodded with a stoic nature that I found endearing, like he concealed a smile.
As I continued on, I saw this woman working away at her fish stand. I watched her cleaning a fish with her rusty knives. Right there on the sidewalk, working the blades as though they were the sharpest instruments on earth. I was kind of glad it wasn't summer.
The signs of a harvest, and the very real fight to continue to survive. There is this very real drama of life being played out in the streets of the world. making enough sales to support a family, to earn ones keep with what you have. There is no room for the fakes out here.
As those well heeled Koreans walk past, possibly thankful they are not peddling their wares, I watch and notice how many don't even look. This is background noise to them. They walked briskly by, perhaps one will slow down and stop if something catches their eye. Without shame the marketplace exists. They do what they can for so little. There is no shame in that at all. The very real drama of survival is a hard one to just ignore...rusty knives and all.

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