Chapter 5: The Colour of the Day (It's Red!)
I returned to my favourite Warorot Market this past week.
Everywhere I looked, I saw red (and often gold). That doesn't mean I became instantly angry (the idiom meaning). It means Chinese New Year is this coming weekend.
Why red and gold? Well, in the Chinese culture, red symbolizes luck, joy and happiness and gold symbolizes wealth and fortune. So it only makes sense that these are the colours to begin a new year.
Historically, the Chinese began migrating to Thailand in the 13th century and they have continued to do so for centuries, assimilating well into the Thai culture by learning Thai, intermarrying and often taking on Thai names. In other words, the Thai Chinese are a part of what Thailand is, with a strong cultural influence. So, celebrating Chinese New Year is just part of life here.
That being said, there is NO lack of colour in the market. Instead of telling you, I'll just show you in pictures:
I'm not sure in what world dried durian would be called "The Best." I've never tried it--I can't get past the smell. In fact, the smell is SO potent, and nasty, that it's banned on certain public transport and many of the hotels put up signs in their lobby saying that durian is not allowed. The smell is so strong I don't think you could sneak it past anyone anyway (although perhaps the dried version would be doable).
What words can I use to describe the rank smell/taste of durian? Well, let me just quote the late Anthony Bourdain, chef and food guru: "Your breath will smell as if you'd been french kissing your dead grandmother." Enough said!
Let me close with one last photo that I took overlooking the stalls in the main market area (this was on a quiet day). I wish I could include all the smells and sounds, the feels and touch, the hustle and noise.
As I walked around, I heard one excited tourist exclaim in staccato form, "This is ab-so-lute-ly amazing!"
She's right. It is.