August 10, 2009

to the market we go

Take two … back to the INA Market as we were having fish for dinner last night.  This ain’t your neighborhood Krogers or Giant Eagle, people.
In an effort to hopefully somewhat adequately describe this experience … I can tell you that INA is a closed market (not open air) and has what seems to be hundreds of shops.

From plasticware to shoes, saris and fabrics, vegetables, meat, fish (both live and already processed), live animals, cheeses, grains, spices, stationery, even “American” items like Lucky Charms and Jiff peanut butter.

There are no spiffy clean tile floors, no shopping carts and orderly shopping.  There is no hand sanitizer when you first enter, and there is definitely no elevator music to lull your ears while you shop.

There is no mindless shopping here either … you don’t have aisles and aisles and shelves upon shelves to choose from, while on the other hand, there are some instances of MORE than you could ever imagine to choose from.

As you walk through the maze of shops, shop owners call out to you “Need something today, madam?”  or “What can I get for you, madam?”  It is a noisy experience.  Bargaining and negotiation for the best price is a constant.

The smell is pretty hard to convey.  Tony had a VERY hard time in this environment because of the smell and the heat.  As an adult, I have been able to mentally push past the smells.  It is a combination of all of those spices, the fresh meat, the animals (and all that comes with animals in containers), loads of hot/sweaty bodies, and simply the smell of India, etc. all combines for a pretty powerful sensory overload.

As we walked by the chickens, ducks, roosters and fish — the kids said “awwwwww mom … look at the animals!”

Little did they know that if they wanted chicken for dinner, one less “cute little animal” would still be sitting in that cage.

This catfish … was a rather hysterical story.  A woman had asked to purchase a catfish … once wrangled out of the blue bucket, he somehow escaped from his plastic bag (en route to be … well … ready to take home for dinner).  He flopped around the market floor for what seemed like an hour as all of the shop owners chased him around.  The kids found THIS rather amusing.

Oh … the fabrics…  I think I’ve gone to heaven.  I can NOT wait until my sewing machine arrives!

I’m going to enjoy our times at the markets!  I am looking forward to trying out Khan, Nehru Place and Daali Haat (forgive my spelling?) after the kids start school!

What is something “outside the box” that you might try with your children? Something outside of their comfort zone … outside of their bubble of normal?