A very friendly Thai gentleman selling stir-fried insects outside the Chatuchak (weekend) market in Bangkok, Thailand
Hey! What’s this…another post so soon? It’s only been two days instead of a month!
All self-sarcasm aside, I hope this foreshadows a return to regular postings for me. Hard to believe that once upon a time I was posting every day! These days I hardly ever get the time to take photos or play with bugs and worms and other wiggly things that most people consider icky—never mind actually writing about it. Between the arrival of spring (bringing the opportunity to go out and play with said icky things) and work (hopefully) quieting down, hopefully that will all change…
I wrote in my last blog (see I’m baaaack….!Part II) that while I was in Bangkok I only had the time to take 28 photos (28 to be exact)—but I also wrote that those photos included a few images of insects. Well, here they are!
As you can see from the accompanying photos, I saw a lot of insects in Bangkok. But they were almost all dead. Not just dead, they were fried!
Here’s the story: on the one free afternoon I had while in Bangkok I took the skytrain out to the Chatuchak (weekend) market: the biggest weekend market in the world. This market is incredible: it is HUGE (according to Wikipedia it covers over 35 acres and contains more than 5,000 stalls); it’s CROWDED. It’s a vast labyrinth of stalls, tiny shops and carts selling absolutely everything. It’s chaotic, confusing and utterly fascinating. I spent a couple of hours going through the live animals and tropical fish area. Most of the animals I saw were the same species you might find in a pet shop in North America. There were some exceptions, however, such as the numerous pet squirrels (which appeared to be captive born). Happily most of the critters appeared to be legal and well taken care of—which perhaps wasn’t too surprising considering the largest global wildlife conservation meeting was taking place in the city at that time. I can’t help but wonder if things would be different if I visited now. Even with CITES CoP 16 happening I still saw a few examples of illegal wildlife trade, such as the one vendor who was selling wild caught fledgling hawks and owls. His set-up was clearly temporary and included a big sign saying that no photos were allowed…
The most interesting vendor was a tiny store that sold only beetles, beetle larvae and the media and equipment to care for them. It was really cool (in more than one way as it was thankfully air conditioned). I know that beetle husbandry is a popular hobby in some countries, but not in Canada. Unfortunately the owner spoke no English—and I certainly don’t speak Thai—so I wasn’t able to ask any questions.
Anyhow, the afternoon I was at the market the temperature was 35°C (95°F) and 100% humidity (or so it felt) and in the market there wasn’t a breath of air. After a couple hours I was absolutely dying—I desperately needed air conditioning, a shower and a gallon of water to drink. When I exited the market I came across this cheerful vendor who was selling a variety of fried insects. I wasn’t looking for a tasty snack, but I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to take a few photos.
Fried silk worm pupae (Bombyx mori)
Another photo of fried giant water bugs–the idea of eating these critters was pretty intimidating as they were 7-10 cm (3-4 inches) long!
For those that don’t like to eat bugs, deep-fried fledgling birds were also available!
There isn’t much to say about my photo technique for these photos. I was too hot to want to think about it; I just set my camera to auto everything, took these snapshots and headed back to the hotel.
I’m afraid that I can’t tell you how they tasted…maybe next time!
The technical stuff:
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M5
Lens: Zuiko 12-50mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 zoom
Settings: auto exposure (wide view: F8 @ 1/320 sec; close-up: F6.3 @ 1/100 sec)
Lighting: Ambient light