Reflections and stories on six months of life, culture, food and friendship in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Market Abstractions

I'm a sucker for markets. It doesn't matter where I am, I seek them out. You would think all those hours shucking corn and selling potatoes in the basement of the Hamilton Farmers' Market as a kid would have killed my interest. Somehow that tedious experience never succeeded in spoiling the fascination.

I am now in Luang Prabang, Laos. I never intended this to be a travel blog. I'm not particularly interested in publishing a catalogue of places. So instead of going on about the golden wats, saffron robes, and my conversations with monks (all incredible of course), I am offering a little photo essay on markets, and those of Vientiane and Luang Prabang in particular.

My pointillist cherry tomato and eggplant composition above got me thinking about the incredible abstract potential of piles of food. Who said still life had to be representational?

Today in Luang Prabang's Talat Phousi I passed by a big vat of blood pudding that looked very Mark Rothko. The bright red blocks floated in a deeper red bath. Red on red. It's a shame I didn't have the stomach to hang around the meat section longer. So this exhibition is vegetarian in nature. Maybe it's the influence of all those saffron-robed monks I've been chatting to over the last couple days.

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