Touring the markets is just my chore besides nattering with taxi drivers whenever I go to a place.
As a stranger there, even the agoraphobic me relishes the crowded yet cosy air.
JL asks as we get out of the taxi and are heading around the corner of the street.
“Because I can see many people.” We walk in the market, “I like to see people.”
“You?” She gives a chuckle, her eyes take me in for a moment. “I thought you feel uneasy in crowded places.”
“Not really. People aren’t paying much attention to me in the market. I sense a relaxed ambience here.”
“I doubt that- ” She furrows in confusion. “If they would let you take photos.”
“That is intriguing,” I smile. “People tend to be touchier in well-developed countries.”
JL raises an eyebrow at me, “What do you mean?”
“Let’s put it this way: in Hong Kong or Singapore, once you are spotted standing in front of them with a camera, they just expel you from their stalls as if you are the most irritating mosquito which rumbles through their ears at a silent midnight.”
I let out a long breath, while taking a picture in front of the stalls,
“But your camera suddenly becomes invisible in Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam. You can just tilt your camera any way you want, very few would give you dirty looks.”
“Oh right!” JL cocks her head, “But why is this so?”
“I don’t know,” I mumble.
“Perhaps people in these so-called third world countries are relatively simple?” I say.
“Simple-minded people are less quarrelsome, isn’t it good?”
JL shrugs her shoulders.
“Maybe in some places,” she says, noticing a stall owner chit-chatting with a lady, ” you need to befriend with the locals first?”
“I think yes.”
“Unfortunately, I cannot do that now. . .” I hum to myself.
“Perhaps, one day in the future when I have more spare time, I can stay longer somewhere. Provided that I am still energetic.”
“Right. Actually, markets from different places have something in common after all?”
“Yes, of course,” I stretch and stifle a yawn. “They are all trying to sell their stuff hysterically.”
I guess this is why I’m so fascinated by markets.
The market is vital, no matter where on earth it is.
They try to grab your attention when you pass their stalls,
trying hard to be noticeable.
This is so real, so authentic.
“So what is your next stop to visit markets?”
“Maybe a new place, maybe some markets that I had visited.”
Whatever – you can always find new things anyway.
JL bites her lower lip wistfully. . .
No answer, not even a glance.
Does she see the picture come alive?
Victor Tai | Freedom is a Right
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