At my local market in the late afternoons, the vendors clear out. Meat and produce sellers alike vacate the stalls they rent in the market building and cart their stock to the side of the narrow road on which the market is situated.
It's a monotonous and painstaking process. Perfectly displayed merchandise, having served the pre-lunch shoppers well, is packed carefully into baskets, styrofoam boxes and all manner of containers and hauled fifty metres or so, where it is again artfully organised to attract the consumer eye. In the current heat, this mad daily operation zaps the energy and patience of these small business operators. They are curt to even the most polite bargaining.
They make this move because their customers no longer want to stop, park their motorbikes and walk into the market stalls, preferring instead to do a drive through pit stop shop. A few years ago, one vendor set up a small satellite sample of produce from her main stall and started garnering large handfuls of dong from the evening traffic. Others followed suit and now, the actual market is a dark empty cave at five o'clock while the road outside is gridlocked with motorbikes spewing fumes, sweaty butchers weilding cleavers and forthright shoppers poking and pointing.
Amongst a smorgasboard of the essential flavours of Vietnam.