Tourists! That was us today. Meeting George. And those gosh darn dogs!
We made like tourists—shopping at the market, avoiding the sun (we get enough of that!), and enjoying tales from the road with another cycle tourist we met from the Netherlands. “George” as he told us to call him, has been on the road for 5 months. He’s the one and only cycle tourist we have seen in our time here so far. We stopped in the road to talk and then we headed into the nearby restaurant for some Pad Thai. We were happy to be exchanging like-minded conversation about where we’ve been, and our common experiences. We picked up some good tips from George about how to deal with ongoing issue of aggressive dogs. He carries a few sticks on his bike, both front and back and exhibits an attitude toward them when they pounce. So far he’s been successful.
We sure could have used some sticks tonight when we walked down the street again to our hotel. We dealt with a group of three dogs that came out barking and ready to give chase. Earlier we avoided a few pit bulls with muzzles (fortunately) who vocalized their desire to do battle, and at one point a very large and fat bulldog fell off the steps and into the bushes as he lunged at us. We applied the “stare them down” method and it appeared to work. After a while we just decided to walk along the median that divided the road, figuring dogs would need to battle the cars to get to us. Not a bad strategy.
Shopping is an extravaganza that needs to be seen with your own bare eyes to be believed. We can barely contemplate such a concentration of consumer goods, industrious individuals making things, food stalls, produce piled 6 feet high, stores with deep and narrow aisles with merchandise layered floor to ceiling, cars & motorcycles and pedestrians all sharing the spaces, and utterly endless rows of stalls selling everything imaginable as far as the eye could see—it’s like a confluence of Dollarama on steroids, and frenzied farmers markets all hyper-concentrated in the steaming heat of the city.
My only purchase (due to an overwhelming array of choice that made me simply unable to choose much at all), was a simple white shirt for 100 bhat ($4) from a location that sold only white shirts….thousands of styles to choose from. Right beside the “white shirt stall” was a one offering an absolute mountain of socks & underwear and the other side sold phone cases with thousands of styles to choose from.
We left, thoroughly impressed by the magnitude and impact of the market, but equally appreciating the simplicity and neatness of Cobourg’s Farmers Market.