Monday, May 3, 2010

A Morning at the Market . . .

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When visiting Réunion Island, which should be done at least once in life, one of the obligatory stops on any tourist's agenda should be the Friday morning market at St Paul. There is a reason for that; it is well worth a visit, if for nothing else, the abundant concentration of bright colors to be found there. Right on the sea front, one can shop for all manner of local produce, while enjoying the ocean views and breeze. Could that possibly be la Grenouille in a blue dress looking at handbags ???
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Smaller purses could be had for 2 euros . . .
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I could nibble on candied fruits all day long. The goyave was particularly good . . .
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The ubiquitous dodo logo of the local Bourbon beer was present at the market, as it was most everywhere on the island. Quite a marketing stretch to name a beer after an extinct flightless bird . . .
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More dodos . . .
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Although la Réunion is a long way from Haiti, I was wondering if these dolls may have been destined in some cases for voodoo related purposes . . .
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In 35°C or about 95°F temperatures, cool freshly mixed fruit juice blends can really hit the spot. The blenders were heavily solicited . . .
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More bags; when one heads for the beach frequently, bags are a necessity . . .
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Paintings could be had for a song. And if you look carefully, in the lower right is a painting of a place called Chez Loulou, which I had photographed earlier in the trip, and did a post about back in February shortly after getting home dedicated to Loulou of Indiaphragme out in India.
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Warm colors were not in short supply . . .
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Réunion Island's volcano is quite active, and present in the iconography of the culture . . .
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Pots for preparing picnic meals in at the numerous barbecue spots around the island . . .
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Now, let's get down to the serious business. Some people here like to drink. That is normal because it is a tropical island where it is very hot. But for some folks, water is not enough. They take their water with a little bit of refined sugar cane in it, a concoction otherwise known as rum. And for some, even plain rum isn't what is required, they'll be wanting rum which has been doctored in all manner of ways, with marinated herbs and fruits in it, which is called "rhum arrangé". . . or re-arranged rum. Well, all I can say is, you have to try it. Just don't try too much of it if you are planning on driving anywhere, because about one shot of this stuff will put you over the legal limit. Saj, Lynne, any takers ???
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And after you've had a shot or two, don't be surprised if you start seeing hordes of multi-colored turtles starting to come out of the woodwork, I'm not certain that alcohol is the only psychoactive ingredient in that rhum arrangé . . .
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Even the vegetables start looking strange after the visit to the rum stand ! God only knows what these are called, because I certainly don't. Or can't remember if I did . . .
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Hope you enjoyed the virtual visit, come back soon !
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58 comments:

louciao said...

I just had a quick dose of this before heading off to Dreamland. Excellent fuel for colourful dreams...Kaboom! Will be back for more on the morrow.

Catherine said...

some of my favourite moments have been spent in markets browsing the wares and some of my favourite shots have been taken in such locales - i have one of those turtles sitting on my shelf here - they are sold here as earthquake warners - is Reunion Isdland in an earthquake zone too?? Greetings from Mexico

Owen said...

Lynne,
Sweet dreams then...


==============


Hi Catherine,
Markets are often a good place to really get a sense for the culture of a place, as well as simply enjoyable for local color. Réunion is an active volcano, and as such is subject to earthquakes, though from what I understand historically they tend to be fairly minor events, associated with magma movements below the volcano, but la Réunion is not directly on a fault zone as such, so perhaps not at risk of major earthquakes. Further to the east Rodrigues island sits near the junction of three plates, African, Indo-Australian, and Antarctic, but those plates are spreading, so also perhaps not a likely source of major events in the near future. Though one never knows with mother Earth...

Jimmy Bastard said...

Excellent post as always, and it evoked many wonderful memories of my time spent in Alcudia.

Colour is definitely your thing, and the way you weaved your commentary made me want to put down my black pint, and pick up a potent fruit cocktail to slurp on.

Pure dead brilliant.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I enjoy markets too but you have captured the colors of this one so well.

Steve said...

Wow. I feel like my spectacles have suddenly become HD!

alterdom said...

Merci pour ce multicolore voyage en Réunion,
les yeux butinent, de poupées en jus de fruits...de gamelles enrhums arrangés,
Le regard exotique,
ça fait du bien!

Bill Evertson said...

OMG Owen - The colors!! I had to go on a bit of a safari to find my sunglasses this rainy a.m. Never would have made it through the whole post otherwise. You are a pretty decent tour guide and seem to have found all the watering holes as well.;-)

French Fancy said...

I could spend hours looking at a bag stall to find just the right one. So this - plus your hat shop windows from the other day - are right up my street, I guess I should say 'my market' really.

Peter said...

Definitely different from the Paris open markets which too often present the same merhcandise you can find in the nearest supermarket! Fortunately there are still some "real" ones when you visit the province!

This was really a colourful post!

Clytie said...

It's a dull, rainy, dreary, cold, wet and windy morning here in Oregon. Record low high temps. So it was a real delight to lose myself if your bright, warm, colorful presentation! I may have to come back for another look!

Stickup Artist said...

I wish that when I went handbag shopping the ocean and sky were right there in the background! My goodness, what a joyous riot of color. My beige surroundings look absolutely drab in comparison. What a wonderful series to wake up to. Sets me up so cheerfully for the oncoming day!

K'line Bloom said...

Des couleurs pleines de vie, explosives, vitaminées, on en prend plein les yeux ! ça fait du bien...:)

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Wow! I'm loving all the colorful shots!

Marguerite said...

What a fabulous market and colorful photos! I like the Voo Doo dolls and in fact, have one that I got in New Orleans, years ago. And the scenery is breathtaking! You are one lucky guy, cher, Owen!

Roxana said...

omg, what colours! i could be lost there for hours, not even realizing i still breathe - and the candies fruit have just killed me!!!

but more than that, a secret glimpse at the mysterious la Grenouille (i hope that was not a false hint, Owen!) - bonjour, un sourire pour vous, chere Grenouille, et specialement pour vous :-)

Vladimir C. said...

Great reportage, thank you for this tour.

louciao said...

That rearranged rum looks like it could seriously rearrange one's brain.

These colours are delirious, or make me feel delirious. Or more than the colours...the bags and baskets and dolls and fabric and folk art to be had! I would likely still be reeling from stall to stall in the market trying to choose which items to bring home with me if I'd been on that trip.

Just as well I only experience it virtually here. Though it would be gratifying if you could manage to install a little spigot at the bottom of your blog so that the Saj and I could sample the liquid refreshments you boast of sampling.
:-)

BTW: I hardly slept at all last night. I think the mere glance of all those vibrant colours over-stimulated my brain.

Adrian LaRoque said...

Colorful!

Owen said...

Hi Jimmy,
Well bottoms up then, here's drinking to your health... fruit cocktails with rum or black foamy pints are fine with me. I admit, I had to look up Alcudia, but now having Googled it and seen the images page, I understand better... looks like a guy could work up a thirst there too. Life on the beach since the invention of the bikini is not easy work for any man... but sometimes hard work must be done to get to higher planes of understanding...
:-)

Owen said...

Hey LGS, for a squirrel this place would be a paradise, for there were all sorts of things to nibble on, and plenty of places to hide under tables and to scamper across the loosely connected roof of parasols...

Owen said...

Steve, are you sure they're not BlueRay ?

Owen said...

Bonjour Alterdom,
Je suis bien content si tu as trouvé un peu de bonheur dans ce voyage virtuel... saluts !

Owen said...

Hey Bill, Sunglasses are required, absolutely, I'd forgotten how bright tropical light can be... Hope you got less rain than Tennessee ! They have given new meaning to the term "watering hole" down there I here...

Owen said...

Ah FF, very dangerous places indeed these markets, especially for those fond of dresses, paréos, bags, and other accessories... best viewed from a distance... with one's wallet well hidden !

Owen said...

Hi Peter, indeed, this is a long way from Paris markets, about as provincial as they get... And full of strange vegetables and fruits the likes of which we don't see here...

Owen said...

Clytie, do come back then, again and again, what's that saying ? "Why put off for tomorrow what you can do today, because if you like doing it today, you can do it again tomorrow..."

Owen said...

Hi Stickup ! Hope you found the right bag somewhere in the lot then... there were so many to choose from !
:-)

Owen said...

Bonjour K'line,
Et oui, ça fait un bien fou toutes ces couleurs. Et c'était surtout le rhum arrangé qui était bien vitaminé et explosif !

Owen said...

Hi Alyson ! Glad you had fun with all the colors here... good to hear from you, hope all is well in New England...

Owen said...

Hi Marguerite, oh, it's been too long since I've been down to see what's going on in Cajun country... Sincerely hope that oil mess isn't going to cause too much harm to too many down your way, I cannot imagine what people are experiencing right now, waiting to see just how big it's going to get... my heart goes out to all of you down there...

Owen said...

Roxana ... Rox-aannnn-aaa...
(that's me calling you back to consciousness after you fainted while tasting all the candied fruits... now, a deep breath...)

The colors were fabulous, one could indeed get lost in them...

Et oui, c'est bien la Grenouille, et non pas une piste brouillée... En fait, si tu remontes assez loin dans les archives de ce petit blog, il y a quelque part d'autre photos de la Grenouille, ce n'est pas la première fois elle apparaît ici... mais pour les trouver, bonne chance !
Bisoux !

Owen said...

Vladimir, you are very welcome, thanks for stopping by...

Owen said...

Dear Lynne, do you really think it was the colors that contributed to the insomnia ??? Could be... best taken in small doses, mainlining them is not advised... advanced deliriousness could result...

And I'm thinking it's not just one spigot that you and the Saj will be wanting, but probably a spigot on each one of those bottles. I'll ask Google/Blogger if they have any projects like that in the pipeline... yes, I can see you both reeling from stall to stall... while the song, "Reeling in the years" played at full volume...

And sometimes getting one's brain re-arranged is a good thing...
;-)

Owen said...

Hi Adrian ! Totally...

Amy said...

I feel like I've walked through this market with you. Pity I can reach out and grab some of that rum to try. They have so many bag options, but it is true that you need one or two or five when visiting a beach. I'm most intrigued by the pots and pans though. They look stocky, but I'm sure they're lightweight if they're meant for picnics.

I think wacky vegetable is a variety of bitter melon. It's used a lot in Chinese cooking, and I think some folks make tea with it. I picked some up at a local market once with good intentions, but in the end, I just ended up photographing it. ;)

Thanks for the bright colors. I needed them today. :)

thomai said...

I closed my eyes and could almost taste the sweetness of the fruit candies. I could almost hear the human voices bargaining. I could imagine myself holding the colorful bags and chilling my red burning chicks by pressing them on my cool fruit juice. I could almost... :D

Alberto Oliver said...

Markets, oh my god yes, they are the most sincere, picturesque, exciting, colorfull. . . places for discovering the real nature of a certain place. They never lack of color, stories, characters, odors and all the senses may need. Poor Dodo, it may me think in all those ill fated poets and artists that are better apreciated and estimated after having left the earth back.


About Thingvellir in Iceland, fortunately the ash didn´t affect the place as it is not close to the eruption site. Wish you a great lovely week Owen. =)

namaki said...

Ah ces couleurs tropicales ! Elles me touchent car j'ai vécu 25 ans aux Antilles ....

.:: Karine ::. said...

of course I enjoyed the virtual visit owen adoré !

bon c'est moi, tu as vu je suis fidèle en ce moment :-)

en plus si tu savais combien j'aime les paniers et sacs en tout genre ! je ne peux même plus les compter, il y en a partout chez moi ! d'ailleurs un jour je ferai un reportage photos de chez moi !

tu sais j'aime beaucoup quand tu nous montres des photos de la réunion parce que je suis allée plusieurs fois à maurice et seychelles et j'adore ces îles ! je ne suis jamais alléé à la réunion ni rodrigues ni madagascar mais un jour peut-être ...

mille kisses xxx

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Hey, that was fun. Thanks for the colorful tour!

- Margaret

James said...

How does that Jimmy Buffet song go?

"Nibblin on goyave
Watchin the sun bake" :)

Excellent post Owen. What strikes me most is all of the wonderful colors. From the blue sky and ocean to the candied fruits and all of the items for sale. I can imagine kicking back on the beach and wasting away in rhum arrangéville.

Glennis said...

Great variety in your market lots of goods to buy and lovely fresh juice to sip and candy fruit to nibble, not to mention the rhum arrange.
I always enjoy a good market.

Sar@h said...

Dame, je constate que l'on a goûté tous les punchs !
Par la fraîcheur ambiante, ça donne envie de partir …

Nevine said...

Owen, your photos are absolutely beautiful. You know I love b & w's, but these colors are just irresistible. The people of La Reunion would be proud of you for having captured such beauty! I think it must be your soul that makes the photos come out looking so beautiful. You love snapping photos and it just shows in the end result. And I can tell you're still floating in memories of your days in La Reunion. It's always worth the trip when we have the memories to keep us company later... Don't you think?

Nevine

Owen said...

Hi Amy,
It would have been great if we could have had a big bloggers get together right outside that market, there were a couple of likely places just adjacent to it, watering holes for thirsty market-goers... well, maybe someday... And if the colors helped give you a little lift, then I'm smiling too; it was so bright there ! Thanks for the tip about bitter melon, I'm going to have to look that up. There were all sorts of things there that I'd never seen before... a fascinating place, with a fascinating history...

Owen said...

Hi Thomai, I love your resonating echo of "I could almost..."... so I guess this little photo essay was almost exactly what it would take to persuade someone like your good self to travel to la Réunion to experience this first hand... I could almost hear you wondering out loud, hmmm, if I save a little over the next few months, can I afford the trip...

And I hope you are ok in Greece wherever you may be there, and out of harm's way with all these protests going on...

Owen said...

Hi Alberto... you are right about some artists who are only fully appreciated after they're long gone, like the last Dodo... I'm really sorry the human race had to be so greedy as to want to carve up and consume the last Dodo, and same for the species of large land tortoise that was once abundand on la Reunion Island, but they went extinct because all the passing ships stocked up on them for easily stored fresh meat...
Take care...

Owen said...

Bonjour Namake, ou devrais-je dire, sac-à-macher (ortho ?) Et oui, après 25 ans aux Antilles, j'imagine bien que ces couleurs resonne... et ça te manque pas trop ?

Owen said...

Bonjour .::Karine::. !
Et quelle chance que j'ai que tu sois si fidèle lectrice ces jours-ci, pourvu que cela continue un bon moment, car c'est un plaisir parmi plaisirs quand je vois une visite signée Karine du nord (car il y a Karine du sud aussi... qui est archi-gentille aussi) Et oui, j'ai une énorme chance d'avoir trouvé dans le blogosphere des lecteurs et lectrices si sympas et douées et bourrées de talents... mais pas bourrées tout court... bon, certains peut-être... bref, oui, la chance...

Alors, tu as des placards et des placards pleins de sacs? Et oui, il faudrait faire un petit reportage là dessus...

Et tu es allée à Maurice et aux Seychelles, mais non pas à la Réunion... bon, une prochaine fois... ça vaut vraiment le détour ! Le volcan est magnifique, qu'est-ce que l'on peut sentir humble à coté de toute cette nature plus que sauvage. Quelque chose de lyrique dans ces îles, lyrique et romantique... Et Madagascar... moi aussi, je reverais d'y aller... passer un mois à faire des photos et découvrir la beauté de ce pays...

Owen said...

Hey Margaret,
It's funny, the whole time I was there I was keeping an eye out for goats, with you in mind, but I just didn't find a good photo op. Though I know there are goats there, there are even some place names, like la Ravine des Cabris... maybe next time ! Hope all is well at NGIP !

Owen said...

Hey James,
Too funny, yeah, sounds like rhum arrangéville is the place to be ! Where there are fins to the right and fins to the left...

Owen said...

Hi Glennis, ah, and this was a most enjoyable of markets... many thanks for dropping in here...

louciao said...

No sign of the spigots yet!
gah. Thirsty! Esp. with no Tuesday Tipple to be had from you know who, you know where.

Owen said...

@ Sar@h,
Dame, comme tu dis ! Les punchs avait bien descendu, mais il restait un peu... va falloir se depecher quand même, car ça partait vite ! Bon voyage alors... et oui, car il fait vraiment trop frais ici. J'imagine ta combinaison est vraiment ce qu'il faut pour nager ces jours-ci...

Owen said...

Ah Nevine, there you are... I was thinking about you today when I saw the news about a refinery fire in San Antone, was hoping you are nowhere near that... stuff going haywire right and left these days... stay safe, ok ?

And how do you do it... you always find just the exact few words that can leave me gasping like a fish out of water at your kindness and depth of perception and warmth and I don't know what... You have hit the proverbial nail on the head, a photographer must of course reveal little by little some glimpses of the soul behind the work... and I do have the feeling that I'm signing each one that I publish here, each one is little piece of this odd creature sitting up late here, this Mr Toad... filling in his travel diary...

Take care Nevine, and do stay away from all things related to oil for a while, seems like there are some bad vibrations going on around all that...

Catherine said...

Ouuuh ! J'en oublie mon piètre anglais, là ! La tête me tourne....des couleurs, la chaleur qui s'en dégage, ou d'autre chose.
Le logo Dodo au double sens, s'explique peut être comme une recommandation de s'allonger après consommation excessive.....Pour le rhum, j'immagine que le Dodo devrait être apposé également sur les flacons, qui ressemblent assez à des elixirs aux recettes secrêtes et mystérieuses, suivre la posologie ou tomber raide dans les allées du marché voyant arriver sur soi une armée de tortues mal intentionnées.

C'est une belle promenade au détour du marché à laquelle tu nous as convié. J'aime ces photos d'accumulation, cela donne un très bel effet.

L'Autochtone said...

Je désirais clarifier un petit oubli. Le nom de ces fruits exotiques et insolites pour vous les touristes, n'est-ce pas, c'est ...heu.....c'est...à oui ! ça va me revenir...... attends....hep ! garçon ! une autre bière Dodoooo ..... rrrr....rrr