Monday, December 20, 2010

Monthly Montage: The Market

I really love the market in our town. It's nothing like Whole Foods or 7-11. Completely raw and real, there is something new and different to see every time you go. Tiny winding alleyways squeeze between freight containers that serve as stores and everything has a rather makeshift feel to it though truly the structures are permanent. There are departments of sorts- different places where you can find hardware, clothes, food and recreation. The whole place is alive with energy; like a beehive, it's an ecosystem that flourishes on it's own. It has a unique heartbeat as vendors, animals, loiterers and customers flow through its haphazard veins with a pulsing ebb and flow. So take a tour through the paths and alleys of the Hovs market. I guarantee you it ain't your mama's superstore.

The entrance to the market before opening time. You can get a sense of the overwhelming pollution. It costs 50 tugricks to get in- roughly 5 cents.
The taxi line in front of the market. There is constant confusion and honking. Rarely is it ever this orderly.
A vendor selling phone credit next to the entrance.
Hanging out across the street from the market.

Fur sellers ply their trade.
The products that are available here often come in many different varieties. For example: cigarettes- a lifestyle staple for many people in rural Mongolia.

The inside of a clothing shop.
People pay this woman to make phone calls. Kind of like a pay phone. You can see the hustle and bustle here a little.
A salt vendor making a sale. She was wary at first but we chatted for a while and made friends.
A man watching me take pictures pulled me into the frame and insisted on taking a photo.
The aforementioned photographer of the shot above.
An inside fruit store. They are quite tiny; I was standing against the front wall.
A brave outdoor saleswoman.
This guy was all about having his photo taken. He is posing in front of sacks of grain. They use ketchup bottles as scoopers.
My vegetable lady! She's super sweet and I always buy from her.
Early morning billiards.

Selling hardware.
I couldn't resist his smile.
And into the meat room...Not for the faint of heart. I knew I had been maybe a bit too overexposed when I stood here waiting for my meat to be ground and calmly ate an apple. Only later did it dawn on me that maybe my surroundings were a bit gross.
No shrink wrap here.
The meat room is attached to the dairy room where all sorts of milk products are sold. You can see hardened blocks of milk and yogurt among other things here. Also sea-buckthorn juice is a hot item as one of the only local sources of Vitamin C.
Only a wee stretch of the market. It is really huge.
On my way out I passed my new salt selling friends.
Many men come here and play snooker for hours regardless of the temperature.
A cluster of men playing a card game next to the pool tables.
Piling up skins for transit.
This man demanded I take his photo- regardless of the suspicious (endangered?) looking pelts on the wall behind him.
The second meat room.
You for sure know it's frozen. No rotten meat here. Although the last time I went to buy meat, it was so fresh that it was steaming.
Love her sweet face.
Drinking milk tea and holding down the fort. The large rounds next to her are rendered animal fat and are used for cooking.
A wave hello.
Necessary big boots through a tight squeeze.
These trucks parked on the fringes of the market sell coal and sometimes hay.
I love the colors.
Early morning market in the snow.
Hovd is legendary for its local watermelon crop that peaks in late summer. They are tiny and perfectly sweet.
Sunset over ropes that hold aloft tarps.
A wee muddy path with guanzes (cafes) on either side.
Hovd's indoor market. Not quite as cool at the outdoor one but a whole lot warmer and boasts more exotic goods.
Tubs of Korean salads, vegtables and kimchi in the indoor market.
My sitemate Ned has a great photographic eye and a camera that could blow mine out of the water. He was kind enough to share a couple pictures.
Ned Lederer, ladies and gentlemen.


E in Atlanta said...

These are fascinating pictures!!

Linda said...

Amazing market.