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Markets on the Move

Music played in the village early morning means either a wedding, funeral, monk ordination or that the monthly markets have arrived.

I can remember in my very early days in the village being western suburbia, upset at this loud intrusion into my illusion about a quiet life in a rural muban. Nobody told me about the loudspeaker announcements from the phu yai ban (ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน - headman) at 5:30, the roving sales trucks with speakers or fixed events like the markets.

These days for some reason the phu yai ban announcements have been very much toned down and can not be heard my side of double-glazed windows, I enjoy the trucks because I try to pick what they are selling just from the words, and the markets, well it's something to do on the way to the farm early morning. If you can't relax into the reality of Isaan life, then this is not the place for you.

The market speakers playing loud Isaan music from very early to let the village know they have arrived. You can see the muban speaker system in the background, which fires up 5:30 - 6:00 most mornings with announcements.

A few of the locals took this opportunity to set up some food stalls. This lady buys vegetables from Yuan.

All the usual suspects that you will find in every street market in Isaan. Masses of plastics, shoes and odd sized clothes.

You can either buy your youngster a Disney top or one promoting a porn site. You will sometimes see t-shirts with what I would classify as offensive wording, but of course the Thais just pick them for the colour and design 555.

10 or 20 baht will get you just about everything in this section.

Gaun brings baskets of fresh noodles when we visit friends. You never arrive empty-handed in an Isaan tradition. She had run out of baskets (colanders) and this was an ideal opportunity to stock up. 10 for 100 baht.

Happy Gaun. I bought an electronic mosquito swatter. Good fun improving my backhand as well as being useful. 150 baht my purchase.

The markets will last about three hours and then everything is efficiently packed up in 30 minutes and the whole operation moves to the next location. It's why you tend to see the same products no matter which market you go to. These are rotating businesses that cycle through a fixed range of daily markets and villages across the area.

There are fewer restrictions to setting up a home business here. You do have to get permission from the village administration, and in our muban neighbours have to sign off on you opening a business.

Opposite the market location this family is selling beds and some timber furniture from an area built by Ming, the basically retired builder who constructed our house. Most of the beds are blocks of concrete covered in fabric.

Isaan furniture. The tables in the front are 1,500 baht and the large bench 4,500 baht, which is good value. Not for me but with some decent SOFT cushions, a cheap addition to a lounge room or outside setting.

Last one. I like these traditional Isaan muban timber houses, as regular readers already know. Built up so that animals could be housed underneath back in the day. A dying breed as they are being demolished and replaced with more practical but generally ugly, characterless concrete bunkers.

Thanks for reading.



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