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  • July 2019
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    Jagalchi Market

    Jagalchi Market is a fascinating slice of local life. Here you will find vendors selling anything and everything that can be culled from the ocean. When I arrived early Saturday morning, people were just setting up, including this squid fisherman wearing a superman bandana.

    The market lines the waterfront, and a couple of things are immediately evident. First, the majority of vendors were women. Second, like any metropolitan city worth its salt, the market was divided into districts: The long silver fish district, dried fish district, the mollusk district. One supposes it makes comparison shopping easier. Further off the main drag, the market was less organized and vendors tended to show whatever they had available at the time. The woman at right was headed to this area, and dropped a bucket of the latest catch. I heard the clunk of the bucket, a splash of water, then whirled around to get her reaction.

    There was surprisingly little variety in the types of seafood available. Just about everyone had the long silver fish, which came in boxes, frozen. Squid was popular, usually dried. There were several types of nudibrancs – I couldn’t tell you what was what. I can tell you that none of them looked appealing! Alaskan King Crab (surely called something else) and Opilio were kept in aquariums. Live fish were kept in buckets or aquariums, with water constantly pumping through to keep them alive long enough to make it home to the frying pan. Vendors occasionally splashed water on fish laid out in the open to keep them from drying out. Of course, some people prefer their fish (and squid) dried.

    There was a woman sitting on the sidewalk, with two buckets of live octopi. She had emptied one of water, then started filling it again with fresh water. The octopi, perhaps sensing their fate, were eager to escape. But as soon as they stretched their fleeing tentacles over the bucket’s edge, she yanked them back in in and cursed them out. Once the bucket had been refilled, they ceased their attempts to escape – which is odd, since with the water full they were much closer to freedom. Perhaps they didn’t want to escape at all; they just wanted a little space.

    Full photo set here.

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