Sunday, March 13, 2011
Talat Kok Pho
There it was in black and white in the “Vientiane Times”, Lao’s English language newspaper, the city’s largest market “Thong Khan Kham” was to be torn down and relocated into what is currently a swamp outside of town. This seemed pretty nuts given that most first world cities are trying their damndest to re-open fresh markets in their centres.
Last year the towns second biggest market, “That Luang” accidentally burned down and is now the construction site of a proposed low rise tower of luxury condos being built by the Vietnamese. Those market stands have now also been relocated to the outskirts of town.
The really crazy part about all this is that there isn’t any alternative to local market shopping. It’s not like you can go to Wal-Mart or Tesco to get your fresh veggies, meat and noodles. They just don’t exist here with no indication that they’ll be built in the foreseeable future.
Joy is 43 years old and has two children. She’s originally from a town about four hours drive from here. Vang Vien. I asked her if she was happy with her job and she said she was indeed very happy and loved her job. Because I’m a preferred customer, a purchaser of asparagus and sugar snap peas, Joy always throws extra goodies in my bag, like a couple of limes or a bunch of scallions.
On a Friday night both Buffalo and the women of the market let their hair down with a few bottles of Beer Lao. I always demur when they offer me a glass but Bruce knocks a couple back with Buffalo and the boys. You have to be polite after all.