Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Markets and Motos

Some things are crazy here! That's in a good way, most of the time. I've been into town to go to the open market a few times now, and it is quite an experience!! I took a bunch of photos so I'll let them do most of the talking. It's a feast for the senses: bright colors everywhere, lots of different smells (mostly not great smells), hardly an open space to move or walk in, and people talking and calling out their wares! One of the more intense parts is the meat market, which is City of Flies. The fish is mostly all super dried, but there's plenty of meat sitting out all over tables, all day long. Needless to say, if you're smart, you buy your meat first thing in the morning. The smells are definitely the worst in the meat market, but it was worth the excitement and the adventure. :)

Each person's shop area blends into the next, leaving one confused about who to even ask for prices. I really liked the citrus shops - they were so bright and pretty! The produce sellers often arranged their little peppers and limes in small piles or pyramids that were meant to be sold in units, in order to standardize pricing... but to me it just made things look artfully arranged. And the bananas! They were selling whole branches of huge bunches of bananas! When we got into the area that was selling products (either food or clothes or home items), it only got more and more colorful. ...I'll just let you take a look.

The other rather crazy, exciting thing I see a lot around here is the motorcycles, or "motos", as we call them. It's not the motos themselves, but their cargo! If you need public transit around here, you either take a taptap (a brightly colored "bus", i.e. a pickup truck with some benches and a rickety little roof set up in the back) or a taxi (a guy rides by on a moto and you wave him down - now you have a taxi!). Pretty much everyone takes motos, especially when they have a big, heavy load to carry home. The taxi drivers are all happy to help carry the load, so it's common to see a taxi driver and his "charge", with two or three huge water jugs on each of their laps! I've also seen someone transporting long (maybe 25-30 ft) metal rods; the driver had a bunch in his right hand, and the rider hand a bunch in his left hand, with all of the rods dragging way out behind the moto! Today I saw the funniest one yet: a moto flies by with a big basket on each side, and at least 3 goats packed into each side, either enjoying the ride or bleating pitifully.

The driving laws here are... interesting. You're NOT allowed to drive without a shirt, whether you're a man or a woman, but an open bottle of beer or liquor is no problem! Kids riding in the back of a pickup is also no problem, even if they stand up. You can pack a bunch of people and things onto a moto or truck - there seems to be no limit or need to put warning signs when there's large cargo. Goodness, some of these laws don't make sense, but I guess it is what it is!

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