Traveling Back in Time: Memories of Wet Markets – COVID-19 Isolation, Day 52

Like most of you, I am getting a bit off kilter here. I mean, after all it is Day 52 for me in COVID-19 lockdown.

But I broke that run of strict isolation today.

I didn’t want to. But I had to.

This morning I dashed out to visit my spine doctor, due to ongoing back pain from the surgery on February 12. Like many people, I’d been avoiding such a thing, going to a medical office.

Good news.  No new fractures, but I’m still not myself.

But I worked very hard to stay safe during the visit. And so did the medical people – checking temperatures of all going into the facility, wearing masks, chairs in the waiting at least 6 feet apart. Me wearing mask, fogging up my glasses. When I got home, I put my clothes in the laundry. Washed my hands raw.

I think it will be OK. I should have gone earlier. My county had just one new case the other day, sadly with two deaths so far, out a total of 251 known cases. Social distancing has worked.

Typing for too long bothers me – the pain/discomfort is muscular and fatiguing. So I’ve been spending some time thinking about the days when I was pain-free AND free to travel wherever the heck I wanted to. That thinking leads me to the photos. Most are recent, because – sad to say – I couldn’t take many photos back in the day, because of the cost of developing film And the photos I do have are in slide form, awaiting the day when I can scan them. But that’s going to demand an upgrade.

Anyway, the first set of photos concerns wet markets, similar to the one in Wuhan that some say gave birth to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Note that that has not been proven for certain.

In the early 2010s, I traveled to Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand. And I discovered the existence of an extreme market in Sulawesi called Tomohon. Some of the following photos depict my visit. Be warned, a few of the sights are disturbing.

I want to mention that wet markets are common in many other areas of the world, not just Asia. These markets are traditional sites for people to buy food. Despite the prevalence of refrigeration in many urban areas, and often rural areas as well, wet markets continue to be popular. When I lived overseas, I shopped at these markets, but I usually referred to them as “open-air” markets.

The word “wet” refers to the cleaning that takes place at the end of the day, when counter tops and floors are hosed down, removing blood and other debris, making the market ready for the next day. Drains and gutters usually line the floors, allowing the dirty water to flow out.

Tomohon Wet Market, Sulawesi, Indonesia (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

Other scenes are somewhat more informative.

Snake, Tomohon Wet Market (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Bats and Pork Sold Adjacent to Each Other (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Smoked Fish, Manado, Indonesia (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Fish for Sale, Wet Market. Manado, Indonesia (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Vegetable Section (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)
Fisherman’s Shoes and Rewards, Manado, Indonesia (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

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