To market, to market...
Updated: Aug 30, 2020
Since we first got our bike (almost a year ago), X and I have made a habit of our weekly trip to the market. The market is only a couple of kilometres away through the backstreets, and, due to a shortcut through a park, riding is quicker than driving (even before you consider parking). Whilst only a short trip, it’s the only regular time X and I spend alone, and also gives him the opportunity to pick out fruit and vegetables he wants to try (and other exciting snacks).
The market we go to is a bustling weekend fruit and veg market, stocked with local tropical produce similar to what you would find in fresh food markets in many parts of Asia. It can get very hot and crowded, especially in the warmer months, and the atmosphere reminds me of time spent travelling through South East Asia and India, and our time living in Taiwan. The vegetables available vary throughout the year, reflecting what is in season. Seedlings and seeds are often also available, for those who wish to start growing their own. Alongside the fruit and veg, you can buy locally made noodles, tofu, tempeh, chilli pastes and other condiments, fresh coconuts, and sugar cane juice. In the surrounding shops you can stock up at the Asian supermarket, Indian supermarket, butcher, fishmonger or the organic food store. Before we leave we usually grab some lunch to take home from one of the many food vans in the carpark, choosing from things like laksa, dumplings, stir fry, curries, rolls, steamed buns, salads, sweets, and fruit smoothies.
On our shortcut through the park, we always stop on a little bridge that crosses the creek. I think of this as the halfway point, although it’s probably more like two thirds of the way there. I often notice a disconcerting lack of life in the water. Luckily, today, we saw lots of little fish swimming about (and a little bird swooping down to catch something). The upper reaches of the creek pass by the back of the airport, and I’ve heard a few issues raised about the water quality. Nevertheless, it’s still a nice spot to stop and observe. Once, in the wet season, the water was flowing rapidly within centimetres of the bridge and we wondered about crocodiles making it up that far, as it’s only a kilometre or so from the estuarine mangroves, but this wasn’t a concern today.
This was the first time we’d been to the markets in months. They shut down for a few weeks, at the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic, and then gradually reopened with limited stalls. Since most restrictions were lifted here a couple of weeks ago (there are currently 0 active cases where we live and haven’t been any new cases in the past 29 days), we figured we’d venture back. Most of the stalls appeared to be there in their usual locations, but a one-way system had been established through the market, which was a bit confusing to follow. Although social distancing and hygiene measures were promoted (and we did find hand sanitiser in a couple of locations) and there were less customers, there was still a lot of crowding around individual stalls.
My favourite part about riding to the markets, is that we can always park right out the front. There are multiple bike racks around the perimeter, but the one we use is always in full shade. After carrying heavy bags of veggies around through the hot, crowded market, it’s nice to be able to just take our shopping to the bike right outside, instead of having to lug it to the car a couple of blocks away.
10 minutes later, we’re home. Time to put the veggies in the fridge and enjoy the smoothies and banh mi we picked up for lunch…