Our morning outing was a walk to the local market just down the street from our hotel. We were on the hunt for more diapers and formula (to stock up for the transition at home), and we found both at a roadside shop. There are these tiny little stores selling everything from dusty packages of crackers to hard liquor to altar offerings. You can find them on every street (and sometimes several to a street). On a side note, we found out that the Pampers that we purchased (although packaged almost identically to those at home) are quite different here. They are like the plastic bulky ones with the tape-like tabs from the 90's! I am not complaining, as they are readily available and do just what they are designed to do...just found that interesting.
After doing some shopping there, we moved on to the local market. It was located in a series of tarp-covered alleys and sheds that lined a garbage strewn canal crawling with rats (yep, we saw them). The stalls offered everything...very, very fresh. There were tubs of swimming fish that waited their turn to get filayed, briskly done right on the ground in front of you. We saw buckets of squid and crabs, baskets of clams, and freshly dead meat of many varieties in many different stages of dismemberment/disembowelment. I don't do meat all that well anyway, and this gave "fresh" a whole new meaning! (Did I mention we are eating vegetarian for lunch again?) We also saw stalls with different varieties of rice, fresh mangoes and bananas, and buckets of roses and chrysanthemum (which I shot in lovely green photos that don't do them justice). It was a cultural experience, made even more interesting by the fact that we were stopped by over a dozen merchants who commented on MyLinh, stroking her cheek, clucking to her, unable to communicate anything with us, other than their delight in our daughter. Incredible.