Monday, February 01, 2010

Sculptural vegetables: Dili's traditional market

Dili's traditional market is sort of like a small-town Indonesian market: a long wander down an alley lined with ramshackle stalls. Evil smells mingling with wonderful ones. Slimy stuff of uncertain origin underfoot.

But while Indonesians usually arrange the produce in large pyramids, in Dili they create single-portion sculptures, like these little towers of tomatoes.

These are stacks of seaweed. Behind them, the guy is holding a frozen chicken from Russia -- another thing you don't usually find in Indonesian markets.

Here are some nicely arranged betel leaves, sold for chewing along with betel nuts.

Mung beans and eggs -- I'm not sure what the connection is, but I like how they look together.

The tofu-seller wanted me to take a picture of his daughter (or wife?).


mr_john said...
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mr_john said...

The chickens are Brazilian.

Nadya said...

Very interesting, Mba Kopi Susu. Tell me one thing, is Indonesian a commonly used language there? Did you use Indonesian to speak with the locals, or English?

kopisusu2 said...

You're right, John! The packaging was covered with Russian, but the chickens are in fact from Brazil. I guess they get around.

Nadya, I mostly used John to speak with the locals, haha. The border guards seemed willing to speak Indonesian, however, by contrast with Czechoslavakia in the immediate post-Soviet era, where people gave me dirty looks when I spoke to them in Russian.