For our two weeks in Takeo Province, we are staying in the capital of the province – Takeo. In the center of town is a bustling market. Every day, there is a fresh selection of fruits, vegetables, breads, meats, etc. Folks go the market each day to purchase just what they need for that day. It’s all very different from the typical grocery shopping experience in the U.S. – buying in bulk at big box stores lined with aisles and aisles of refrigerators and freezers filled with neatly packaged goods. Refrigerators and freezers are a rarity around here and there is no big store to go to; it’s just individual stands run by different people.
In lieu of shopping carts or SUVs, they fill big baskets that attach to motorbikes. It’s impressive to see how much stuff they can fit onto a motorbike. We imagine that many of the folks loading up on so many goods are bringing them back to their individual villages for resale.
One of my favorite things at the market is fresh pineapple. You can buy a whole pineapple and they’ll slice it for you in this fancy way that allows you to hold it by the stem and eat it.
The market always has quite the selection of live animals for purchase (chickens, ducks, pigs, etc). One lady really wanted us to buy one of her pigs. “Mouy, mouy” (one, one) she kept saying as she held it out for us.
You’ll see folks buy a pig and transport it in a basket attached to the back of the motorcycle.
It’s a very agricultural way of life here. Even in town, people raise pigs, chickens, ducks, goats, cows, etc. It seems every home you pass by is raising at least one kind of animal. You see animals roaming around on nearly every block. Chickens and ducks crossing the road, cows and pigs grazing on the grass that lines the streets. It’s just the way it is here. I’m not quite accustomed to it. One day while I was teaching at the school, a big pig walked right through the classroom. I almost started laughing; the children weren’t even distracted by it.
Rice has become a staple in our diet over the last couple weeks. Not only at lunch or dinner, but also at breakfast. There is no “American” breakfast of eggs or cereal here, they eat the same things at breakfast that they would at other times of the day. A typical breakfast for us here is a bowl of rice with meat on top accompanied by a simple soup.
A common sight in town are food stands attached to motorbikes. Some of them set up shop in the market, while others ride around town with a recorded announcement reciting what food they have for sale (bread, eggs, etc.).
The sunsets are surprisingly beautiful here. And so are the sunrises. In a town where there’s not much to do, it really makes you slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. Like admiring the artistry God paints in the sky every morning and night.