It was all happening down at the Jagalchi Fish Market that day.
The purveyors of fish, shellfish, crustacea and as-yet-unnamed marine invertebrates were doing a brisk trade, this being the Independence Movement Day holiday:
Everyone on the outside of the glass seemed to be having a good time…
..and all manner of folk were enjoying the colour, smells and action:
Well, maybe not the smells, in my case. I’d slipped though the jammed passageways with the Sony Nex a few times, firing off shots from hip height when I saw the chance, in mortal terror that one of the fishmongers would spot me, blow my cover, and slap me senseless with a half-metre pike.
But I’d made it through the gauntlet undetected, and it was time for some fresh air, so I headed right out to the wharves…
..for some breathing space…
..where the stallholders were fewer…
..and men confided in statues:
At the water’s edge, there was far more of a men’s club atmosphere, the usual crowd of wharf rats squandering their holiday with rod and line…
..or a morning jolt of something fortifying:
For some, it was a place of quiet contemplation…
..for others, a place for ruthless bargaining.
Enter the cutthroat world…
..of the soap salesman:
I don’t how much profit there could possibly be in selling bars of what looked suspiciously like Sard Wonder Soap from back home — but it was a hell of a performance, and the audience was rapt.
And this was a tough crowd:
The routine went on and on and on, and when I infiltrated the crowd of spectators he was just removing the black print from some advertising on a plastic shopping bag with a few deft strokes of the magic bar and some mangy toothbrushes.
Then he moved on to some blackened kitchen pots: a few smears of soap, and what’s the Korean for just like new?
This was the climax of the greatest show in town. A few hands slipped into pockets. Money was exchanged. I was very happy for him, and almost applauded:
Meanwhile, just a little further along the docks, a poor beast was no doubt pondering the cruel vicissitudes of fortune, tethered as it was to the chair of a sock salesman, presumably for the amusement of tourists like myself:
I don’t know if it was injured, but it certainly made a couple of valiant attempts to fly free while I was nearby. And then one of nature’s most cunning predators ambled, with a cold, bloodthirsty nonchalance, onto the stage:
Surely in all of nature there is no enmity more bitter than that between the seagull and the dachshund. The stage was set for a vicious encounter — but just before feathers or, more likely, fur flew, a fellow tourist intervened and the time-bomb was diffused:
I was troubled by the wretched predicament of the gull — can you imagine such a thing being tolerated in a western setting? — and went back to the fishermen where things were more civilised.
As I aimed my camera at a boat, a man wandered over, unzipped, and commenced pissing into the water about 35 centimetres to my right:
And that, dear readers, was my cue to resume my ramble…
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote