Markets: Food for the Soul

Amidst the unfamiliar countries and uneasiness of travel the markets are where I find a connection to the people, to the landscape. Although I have a deep and passionate relationship with food this is not why I seek out these places. It is the everyday-ness of the market that I crave.

Disconnected from family, country, home and all that is familiar the markets are a constant in our travels. The world over people grow food and make goods and sell them in a common space. The produce sold, the faces smiling back at me and the colour of the money changes but the routine is always the same. People coming together to sell food, buy supplies and socialize. Unlike the tourist I am not looking for the exotic, I am searching for the familiar.

On the remote island of Nuku Hiva in French Polynesia I would wake at 5am, before the dawn, and dinghy across the harbour to go to the Wednesday morning market. You had to get up that early, at 9 degrees south business is done before the wilting heat of the sun brings island life to a halt. After weeks of long passages and limited fresh vegetables I was excited by what might be there to buy.

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Throwback Thursday: Power Struggle Part 2

I started writing Letters from Kate as a weekly newsletter to family and friends in 2008 when we bought the boat. They went out as emails and when I got organized appeared on a page of the website. Last year I changed format and started using a more modern blog platform to share our “Letters”, thus removing the newsletter page from the website. I thought I would start sharing some of our past adventures with you in a Throwback Thursday series. This is a two part storie, I hope you enjoy! H

I spend the rest of the morning provisioning, keeping my mind occupied by navigating the confusion of the grocery store on a Saturday morning. I let the busyness of the city envelop me, feeling buoyed by the company of so many strangers.  I stock up with fresh meat and vegetables, and treat myself to a couple bottles of nice wine and some chocolate. With the diesel tanks full and the water tanks topped up I am hoping to have enough supplies to last a few weeks.  There is not much on the shelves in the little store at our anchorage in Boca Chica and the city of David is an over hour’s drive away by bus.

Back on board, when everything is packed away and tidied, I am lost. It has been so long since I have spent more than a few hours alone. I try and read but I get up with every creak and splash to stick my head out of the companion way. After an hour I realize I am still on the same page, reading the same words over and over again. Every time I pass by the phone I check, like a teenage girl for a message from Steve, knowing there isn’t one waiting for me. By the time darkness falls I am pacing our small main cabin like a caged animal. With each little wind and current shift I stand in the cockpit configuring our position relative to every pinprick of light on shore and the few anchor lights in the bay, trying to determine if we have dragged anchor or just pulled back on the chain.

Finally at eight o’clock I turn off the propane, make a final note of our position, check the phone for the hundredth time and head to bed. In the silent darkness of my bunk I listen for the muffled breath and soft snoring noises that I know won’t be there. I sleep fitfully, tossing and turning, all night long looking for my absent bed mate.
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Throwback Thursday: Power Struggle Part 1

I started writing Letters from Kate as a weekly newsletter to family and friends in 2008 when we bought the boat. They went out as emails and when I got organized appeared on a page of the website. Last year I changed format and started using a more modern blog platform to share our “Letters”, thus removing the newsletter page from the website. I thought I would start sharing some of our past adventures with you in a Throwback Thursday series. This is a two part storie, I hope you enjoy! H

Steve is sporting a fresh haircut and a clean shave to impress the immigration officials.  I can hardly keep my eyes off him in the back of the taxi on the way to the airport in David. It’s the first time in two years he hasn’t had a beard, he looks just like the day we met. 

“I am starting to feel like an animal in the zoo, Honey.”

“Sorry.  I won’t be seeing you for a while, just trying to etch your new face into my memory.” I can’t help reaching up to touch his smooth cheek.

“It’s only for a few weeks. You’ll be fine, you know the boat,” he squeezes my hand in his lap. “I topped up the cooling water and oil in the engine but you’ll have to check them once a week, the battery water too. Top up anything that looks low.”

“Right, check…engine…fluids…” I jot in my note book.

“When you run the engine to charge the batteries you only have to give it a little throttle, no need to floor it, check the display, charging at 40amps is what you want to see.”

“Like always.” I assure him, but add a note to my ever growing list anyway.

“Like always,” he smiles at me. “The water here is too dirty to run the water maker so when you go to town on a water run you have to go at a slack or incoming tide, you won’t make it otherwise. And stay to the right, there is less current on the edges of the river and you won’t get caught in eddies.”

“I know, just like we practiced, on the right.”

“Just like we practiced. And, if you need anything, if you’re in trouble, call Jim on channel 16, he knows to keep an eye out for you.” He pauses and turns to me, “But, you’ll be fine Honey. I trust you.”

I swallow my worry and stare out the window. 

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