Tuesday, September 20, 2011
A Day at the Sunday Market - Port Douglas, Queensland
When I arrived at the Port Douglas Sunday Markets in Queensland a week or so ago, I couldn't help thinking of the Christchurch Arts Centre Market - no longer at the earthquake-damaged Arts Centre of course and probably still reeling from a significant shift out to the Ferrymead Historic Village. As I wandered between a far greater number of stalls, all selling rather exotic tropical wares, I couldn't help my sigh of relief. It was, after all, a balmy 27-degrees, the coconut palms were swaying in a gentle breeze and the ground was solid - completely stable and unmoving. I noted then, that after just three weeks in Australia, I was not missing my home city and its constant after shocks one little bit.
And at Port Douglas Sunday Market, there is much to catch the eye. You can pick up a taxidermied crocodile - or part thereof - should the urge take you; and you can choose a coconut, have it husked and split open so you can drink the juice and eat the flesh....which I guess is pretty much what the crocodiles do on a good feeding day.
Local characters man a wide assortment of stalls - a crazy number of them selling the usual crystals, tie-dyed garments and tropical shirts that purveyors seem to think all tourists should invest in. Personally, I've never quite seen the link between tourism/tourists/travelling and the need for crystals; but I've seen it time and again in New Zealand tourist spots too. Visit Akaroa, the Bay of Islands - almost anywhere - and you're bound to find a shop filled with suspended crystals, Buddha figurines and incense.
Understandably, 'things from the sea' feature strongly in Port Douglas too. I could have come home with a suitcase full of beautiful shells. As it was, I never bought a single one. I photographed them instead - along with the hundreds of strings of freshwater pearls.
And I need not mention my love of tropical fruit!
The market is a dream place to pig-out on pineapples, bananas, mangoes, dragon fruit (top image) and much more. One tropical fruit stall owner offered a taste of an icecream bean - he raved about it. Obviously unashamed salesmanship, as I thought them tasteless - a bit like having a mouthful of wet cottonwool I suspect. But good for a laugh.
I'm always ready for a good laugh and the Aussies certainly know how to provide it.