Sunday, October 5, 2008

Meat Market & Old City

Last week, our friend Bob, an expat American businessman here in India, invited us to check out the meat market on Sunday afternoon. Randy, Marty, Kristen, Kirstie and I loaded into his SUV and rode about 20 minutes or so until we crossed to the west side of the river - also known as "Old City." This side of the city has a much larger Muslim population, and thus, it's the place to go if you want to buy raw meat. Immediately after crossing Ellis Bridge, we found ourselves trying to pass through the Sunday street market. Cars were nearly bumper-to-bumper, and people flooding the streets freely darted through the 12-inch gaps between cars. After slowly moving along for several minutes and soaking in the sights of our surroundings, Bob's friend Sonny came out of nowhere and jumped into the front seat with him.

Crowded street market in Old City.

Immediately after exiting the vehicle, we were overwhelmed with the smell. 90-degree heat, a street filled with stands selling all kinds of animal meat feshly butchered blocks away, and shoulder-to-shoulder foot traffic.

Bob purchased some bone-in chicken chunks cooked in some spices & sauce. I tried a couple - delicious. Sonny bought us some drinks that were a mixture of exotic goodness. Some kind of saffron-flavored sugary juice with tapioca and ice cream. The dense tapioca balls were a little much for Kirstie, so she gave hers away and delighted a few nearby children who had been following us for a while and asking for money.

Surprisingly, you can get beef in Ahmedabad, India! All you have to do is find the vendor in the crowded market on the Muslim side of town, right across the alley from the pile of garbage. I had been open to buying some beef on this day, but seeing the flies travel from the garbage pile to the slabs of beef hanging on hooks deterred me. Bob's much more adventurous and bought a few cuts.

Bob & Sonny checking out some black market beef...

...a few feet away from this garbage pile.

Another highlight was trying some pan. This is a common snack to pass the time in India. Seems like only guys eat it, probably because it makes your teeth pretty nasty. I'm not sure what's in it, but it's basically a leaf wrap filled with all kinds of weird flavors I didn't recognize. I was a little hesitant. "You only live once, right?" is my common thought, and "That's the problem" is Kirstie's common response. So I popped the whole thing in your mouth and the brown juice just starts oozing everywhere and out my lips. It was quite a strong flavor and it took about 10 minutes to chew it down to swallowable. Probably my first and last time with pan.

Preparing some pan.

While navigating through the streets, we took a look at some of the nearby historical sites with Sonny providing lots of great information about them, and Sonny invited us up to the flat above his mom's shop for a rest and a drink. After a bit more walking around and sightseeing, Bob's driver picked us up and we headed home.

Well, this is getting pretty long so I'll just sum up our 4-hour journey through old city's crowded streets & meat market with four words: old hot nasty awesome.

1 comment:

Joge said...

Awesome traditional garb! We want a head-to-toe pic.