Night markets are a big tourist attraction in a lot of places in Asia, and I’ve heard from many travellers who enjoy market shopping, however I am not one of them.
So when our hotel (more a group of thatched huts than a hotel) was loading up a Jeep for the Saturday night market in Assagao, we were encouraged to join. With nothing else to do, we piled in.
Walking through the market is never much fun for Eric and I because we can’t buy anything. For one: we’re on a budget and for two: we have to carry whatever we buy on our already tired and creaking backs. So we trudge through the market with chins in our chests trying not to look at anything. Not the best way to enjoy a market! But if you look at anything people run over and start putting products in your face and quoting prices and then you’ve just got to say no in the end.
Even with our heads down we could tell we had arrived at the food. Now we had money to spend. Eric found the beer tent and I found a lamb kebab. It turned out to be mostly ineditable, but it was exciting to have familiar food in my hands after so long.
There was a large stage where we found some seats and the real show began. A rockin’ band played Elton John, The Police, and a few Hindi songs. The dance floor filled with crowds of impossibly skinny young men, arms in the air, hips pounding, along with two Russian toddlers and their nanny.
At one point the dancers formed a long conga line and all donned their motorcycle helmets. Then snaked around the dancefloor gyrating wildly; I think it was to a great cover of “Summer of 69.”
The best part of the night was the requests. An enthusiastic older gentleman was emcee for the night. Before each song he would shout something like, “This one goes to Ali in Iran who absolutely MUST hear some Queen!”
He often got very angry at their crowd for their lack of involvement or enthusiasm. Seeing the dance floor was all dudes he exclaimed, “Last I looked I thought we had some women in this country! I will buy beers for the next five women who come to the dancefloor.” of course, this had little chance if success as the only thing women in India do less of (in public) than dance is drink, at least from what I’ve seen. During Holi in Udaipur they all hid in their homes, coming out only on upper floors with giant buckets of water to pour on Eric and I. But that’s another story.
Now, the band has changed and the crowd and dancers have turned on the new band. Like in Thailand (Pattaya and Chang Mai), the opener always seems to be the best band. Maybe to draw people in from the street. We decide to call it a night and take an overpriced taxi back to our casa. The other couples had just returned as well. The market maybe just needs a better second band.