a guide to market going

The night market in Luang Prabang is not one to be written off. Though much smaller than the markets in Chaing Mai or the floating markets in Bangkok that I've meandered through {that Thailand shopping tho}, the market in LPB is a quaint flurry of fruit shake stands and intricate Lao sinhs {the skirts I wear when working}. 

There are a plethora of markets available throughout Southeast Asia, but unless you want to be another falang market-goer I suggest you heed my advice.

The first suggestion of mine is to beware of the many things that will be advertised as local products that are actually made in China. 

Exhibit A: the infamous elephant pants. Nothing makes you look more like a tourist in Southeast Aisa than when you are wearing either a sarong to a temple {stop. no. please. i. can't. just take a picture of yourself praying in front of incense why don't you.} or the baggy-crotch, elephant and lotus printed pants they sell at almost any market at every other stall {no, Pierre, you haven't impressed me, because if you were actually culturally aware you'd know those elephant pants are produced via slave labor so stahhpppp with the douche-ery}. 

These pants are made in bulk by factories in China. I once was forced to buy a pair of green ones {you know, when my leg was going to fall off thanks to a staph infection via me and the majestic elephants bathing in their feces/river water}, because I had no clean clothes and needed my leg covered. I hated myself until the end of the trip when I rid myself of them forever and ever, amen. The only exception to this rule is babies in elephant pants, because babies. 

I'm not one for travel trinkets. I have a postcard collection and a heap of country patches I have yet to sew on my trusty Osprey. However, there are some wonderful truly local products for you to purchase at the market that I can say are actually worth a geez. Remember, bartering is the key! Don't be afraid to walk away. If you really want something and they really want it sold, they'll go lower as you walk away. However, remember that you are in one of the poorest countries in Asia. There is no need to be so stingy you become insulting. We all love a good bargain, but fair is fair. 

The teas are outofthisworldohmygahhd. Also, the heavy material that is rough to the touch is Lao cotton. Often dyed indigo, it makes a beautiful {although heavy} custom sinh, pillow cover, or winter-weather scarf. 

The night market food is...let's just say you have to know the right places. There are donuts on the corner of the entrance nearest the post office that I give my seal of approval to {we all know I love a donut on the same level as I love a bagel}.

The fruit shake stands can be a gamble, but what's life without a little risk?! I've said before I must have an iron stomach when it comes to local food. I like my food like I like my experiences: local af. 

The only food I don't eat out of moral obligation {apart from meat, obvi} is airplane food. Street food does not scare me usually. I've passed on food because I don't like the food, but not because I was scared to eat what was being served, does that make sense? I'll say no to mango salad, because I don't like mango. Not because I'm afraid the mango salad is off or served from a street vendor. 

Basically, keep away from anything that looks over a day old, because it definitely is over a day old. People are too poor in Laos to waste food that goes unsold by throwing it away. They will resell it the next day. And if you are the poor soul who eats it, you will get gastro. 

That's all she wrote folks! Go get yourself a crepe and an indigo, woven sinh and take in the many falang struggling to barter. You will look like a pro and they'll all be turning to you. You're welcome!