Not your average market

posted on: 9.21.2009

This past Saturday we ventured into town (Portsmouth) to get some fresh produce & fish. You can't get any fresh produce at the "grocery" stores here, so you have to go into town on Saturday or Sunday morning and buy it. It's bit too far to walk (in this heat at least), so we strolled down the end or our road to catch a transport.
Wyatt had been before, but I had not, so I was very eager to see what it was all about. Of course I had visions of it being very charming- I love outdoor markets. Interesting yes, charming no.
I was mainly interested in getting some fresh fish. The idea of getting it literally right off the boat seemed glorious to me! I, of course, mean right off the boat, boned, skined, trimmed, and beautiful, which of course is not the case down here.
What usually goes down is this... the fisherman comes in, blows a conk shell to let everyone know he's arrived and has fish. People then gather around the tiny boats, frantically grabbing at all the huge bloody snapper, mahi, and tuna, then weighing it, bargaining for it, and carry it home (to skin it, bone it, trim it and fry it). We don't know the first thing about how to prepare a whole fish properly, so we passed.
The thing that struck me as odd, were these little boys- standing around buckets offering to gut your fish for you. Sad to me that they aren't out playing soccer or something.
See all the people huddled around that boat... the fisherman just arrived with fresh meat
The produce however is quite great. Unfortunately Wyatt and I (or Tate) aren't really fans of most of the fruit down here, they do have some amazing pumpkin, avocado, and grapefruit.
I also tried some breadfruit last night which was okay.
the sugarcane man-
he let me and Tate have a taste. The juice is pretty good (of course, it's just sugar) but it sure is an awkward thing to eat. Think really hard celery stalks that taste like sugar?
A cute "snackette". These are everywhere and they serve anything from cola and candy to fried fish and chips.
We did run into a local who told us he had just brought in a huge red snapper and would cut and prepare it all for us for just $30ec, which is about $12. I'm guessing it was about 3 pounds of fish. So, we walk with him to his house which is just down a tiny alley towards the water. He introduces us to his family and his 10 year old daughter who is so interested in Tate and my camera. We talk with her a bit and watch through the door as our fish guy hacks at this snapper with his machete until it's just mush... he then puts it in a garbage sack (blood dripping and all) and says "you come back now". Okay... thanks, but no. Quite a different experience from driving to your local Whole Foods and buying up a perfectly trimmed piece of "fresh" meat.
I did enjoy talking with his daughter though, and thought it was very sweet when she said this...
her- where do you live?
me- america, utah to be exact. Do you know where that is?
her- no
me- it's sort of by California
her- do you know Michelle
me- no
her- do you know Lydia
me- no, why do they work at the medical school or something?
her- no, they live in america. they are my aunts.
Their house/front yard.
The main road into town... a completely different world down here.


  1. yea! what a fun post :) you are so funny! I love the narratives :)

  2. No. I can't handle it. Please call me. I need to hear all the details. And, I miss you. (And, Tate has a ponytail?! Big girl.)

    Sending love to your third world country.


  3. Your pictures are incredible! But yea, I think I'd stay with your other native fisherman! And Tate has a ponytail!! Make her stop growing up until you come back in November:)

  4. i know michelle and lydia :) how sweet. i remember getting those kinds of questions all the time on my mission. i love these pictures!! they are so vibrant and colorful. is it your mac that is doing that? beautiful pictures. tate looks so grown up in that first picture. i'm sure pat and rolfe are loving every minute of being with you all. love you guys!!


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