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So many markets

I’ve lost count of the number of markets I stumbled upon in Hong Kong. In the vicinity of Mong Kong/Yau Ma Tei, visitors’ guides are recommending the Bird Market, the Flower Markets, the Ladies’ Market, the Temple Street Night Market and the Jade Market. The variety of things that anyone could buy is just mind-boggling. Not only that, all of these markets could be pretty much visited in one go – they form a complete walking tour route! Somewhere along the way, there are shops and stalls to pick up walkabout snacks. ;)

Hong Kong markets

Hong Kong markets

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Un samedi au marché

My first year in Paris, I used to meet up with A most Sunday to go together to the market at Auguste Blanqui (13ème). Since I moved to the 6ème and subsequently the 15ème, the market trips have become infrequent. There are a number of markets within walking distance that I could go to at the weekends, but somehow I didn’t. I love going to the market; I’m just not there as often as I’d like.

At the market

At the market

I guess playing house with a partner does change one’s shopping habit. Any week that there are not enough fresh produce to last till weekend, or too much that it runs through past weekend into a new midweek, means we would be topping up our purchase elsewhere. Or sometimes, there are just household item shortages that necessitate visits to the supermarket so while we are there, why not get the grocery too to save some time?

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Day 282: Sunday market – Philippe

“T’es occupé?”
“Naaaan. Qu’est ce que tu penses?”

Ok. I give up. I am simply unable to recreate the atmosphere at the market on paper. Or in this case, on blog. And in French. Especially in French.

Philippe is the local producer that I get my greens from at the market. He’s friendly, always smiling, and patient with me while I stutter through my shopping list week after week. To be honest, anytime that I’ve been there, he’s always busy. Maybe with exception at the times that I was at the market much earlier than usual. He’s usually there with a couple of assistants, working steadily to serve the customers in line.

There’s a warm camaraderie between Philippe and a couple other stall vendors nearby. It is not unusual for them to holler and ribbing at each other, looking for some change (they are each other’s bank for coins and smaller notes), have a cuppa coffee and a bite f croissant pre-9am rush. This is the kind of atmosphere you’ll never get in a supermarket. This is the kind of cheering up that I’d happily take any Sunday morning.

Day 129: Crafty at Blvd St-Germain

When one evokes the image of “shopping in Paris” one often thinks of the designer labels, the haut couture, strolling down Avenue Montaigne and the likes. Truth be told, it seems there are places to shop everywhere in the city, and I’m still trying to figure my way around, where best to get certain items etc.

What one would also commonly see in Paris would be open food markets (different locations around the city but there’s always some any given day of the week), flea markets (look out for signs for brocante antiques, usually at weekends) and then small craft markets, like this one at Boulevard St Germain. Passing them en route to Chloé’s, I didn’t really stop to look at the handful of stalls properly. This market is not there at all time, but I’ve definitely seen them here before. I suspect it could be a regular feature, perhaps once or twice a week?

Day 41: Grill baby, grill

Woohoo, proper blue sky for once!

It was near one in the afternoon when I realised I was famished. I have quite lost track of the number of hours I’ve put in since morning too. Good thing my body is great at telling me when it wants to be fed. Recalling there is a lunchtime food market at Mespil Road on Thursdays, I changed from my comfy clothes (read: something that may be mistaken as pajamas but I assure you it’s not) to something of smart casual variety, and went out the door.

Even before I got there, the enticing aroma of food wafted in the air. I quickened my steps and the clearing opened to a handful of stalls – about 15 if I recall correctly, but in the state of hunger, I can’t be entirely certain. Bratwursts! Paella! Roasted chicken! Hummus and pitta! BBQ! Oh the BBQ…

In the mean time, professionals in smart suits from offices nearby were queueing for their grubs before marching to one of the many benches along the Grand Canal for a spot of impromptu picnic. I love the spirit of conviviality all around me, where nothing in life is hurried or pressed. I also firmly believe people who love food are happier folks. ;)

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