October 29, 2008

No Place for a Gweilo

I was wandering around the neighborhood today and thought I'd check out the Causeway Bay Market. It's an indoor market filled with stalls, not unlike an outdoor market.

The signs outside suggest all sorts of interesting things inside, so in I went.

Things were a little too interesting. I don't think there are many Westerners in there; I got almost as many stares as I offered back. At first I thought it was just the usual fare: fish and meat and vegetables.

But no.

There was a cage at one of the fish stalls, and I glanced at it, thinking the shellfish was an odd size. Then I realized it wasn't shellfish at all, but frogs! The look on my face said it all, and then the vendor started to look at me, so I bugged out.

Moseyed around the vegetables and produce; nothing out of the ordinary up there. Although I think I saw some hundred-year-old eggs. These are eggs preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice straw. Anyway, I certainly smelled them. They are, I understand, an acquired taste.

Went back downstairs just in time to see the live birds. Ack! I'd been avoiding this. I looked over and the stall owner had a chicken by the neck, and was measuring it with the knife. Ack again! I looked away.

I didn't think I was squeamish like this. I'm OK with my meat hanging in the open air, although I do prefer refrigeration, yes. I'm OK with my fish laid out on ice. And in Paris, especially during game season, they hang dead animals all over the place. Recently dead. With fur and feathers.

Who knew my limit would be frogs and live chickens?

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