Memories Open air market


Mi General
MI.Net Member
Jul 10, 2016
I was cruising Russian sites this morning & found this pic of a pig face for sale - in China, I think. It brought back something I hadn't thought of for many years.

My unit was in Hue' for a time, and at one point on a patrol, we took a break near one of the many open air markets. Being from middle o' nowhere, Nebraska, I always looked over the various things offered for sale with interest. I saw what appeared to be an old woman in cone-shaped straw hat and black "pajamas" - she might have been in her early 40s, but it was always hard to tell - with a boiled pig face on a piece of plastic. I saw another woman give her a few Dong after which the seller cut her a small piece of pig face. The buyer popped it in her mouth & walked away chewing happily.

At first, I thought the pig face had been blackened with pepper or other spices, but the seller soon waved her hand, causing the "blackening" to rise up and fly orbits around the pig face. They quickly settled back to eating and egg laying. None of that for me, thank you very much! Business wasn't too brisk so the old woman squatted on her heels, smoking a hand rolled cigarette with the vile-smelling stuff they used as tobacco. After that, she probably chewed more betel nut - which had already turned her teeth and gums as black as the baggy black trousers she wore.

"Saddle up!" said the Sgt, and away we went, continuing through the back streets of that unhappy place.

Since this isn't actually a military topic, you front office folks can delete it with absolutely no ill will on my part. The image just triggered a memory which may or may not be of interest.

Well matey it is a military topic because it relates to a memory of your military past. I for one am surprised at the foods some people eat. I wouldnt have eaten that!, that's for sure. The best offal I have eaten and still do is kidneys and liver, anything else is a no go area for me. I once tried tripe and nearly threw up.

I love stories like this buddy, thank you for sharing it
Any time I had a chance to look through an open air market, I took it. At first I couldn't understand all the paper clothing and other paper items offered for sale. I was told it's part of the Buddhist religion. The paper objects are burned & the smoke rises into the heavens where it comes together as the actual item. (I think that's the theory any way) I know I saw a lot of different items on alters at graves.

For GIs, popular items were "1000 miler" sandals made from tires, various straps that could be used for cameras or headbands and the camo hats with fold up brim on the right side. Incense sold well. I sent some to a hippy kind of girl from high school who wrote me & she thought it was the best. Something I *should* have bought was bolts of silk. A guy in my company was sending it home making 10X his investment he said.

As for food, about all I ever tried was rice bread. I figured oven temp would kill all the bacteria and weevils. Someone in my squad bought a small smoked octopus. Gave me a tentacle I chewed briefly. The sensation was like a rubber band soaked in tuna juice. *ptoo!*

I saw ice cream vendors but wouldn't touch the stuff. No telling what the ingredients were. Ice? No. Ice made from poopy water is not good for the old intestinal tract after it thaws.

Since many of the villages hadn't electricity, there was no way to keep meat. Lots of live ducks & chickens at the market. Fish was supposed to be fresh, but with all the flies, it was hard to tell.

The main thing I learned at the markets was never pay the first asking price - always haggle! And never buy watches! They would run for a day or two - then stop forever since the jewels had been pried out.

I'd like to hear similar market stories from other countries.