Monday, March 12, 2012

The Fish Market

There is absolutely no moral to this story.
That should be a welcome treat for those of you who frequent this blog. Today I just want to take you along on a trip into Conakry.

We recently hired a chef...and I do mean "chef". He is amazing! He also has serious connections in the food community. So, we were thrilled when he led us behind the curtain to the inner realm of the food trade. He managed to bring us across the lines of "white people shopping" (and prices) and opened a new world to us. I thought I had gotten a little grasp on shopping in Conakry--I had nooo idea.

One of the places Henry* took me was to the wharf. To find this particular wharf, you really have to know someone local. WildHeart went with us since, as you know, she's always game for a wild new adventure. We drove down narrow streets and back roads until we finally reached a driveway leading into a wide gate. A little further we came upon this wide open air fish market:

My cook's fisherman friend saw us when we pulled in and ran up to greet his friend and sell us a supply of seafood. He wasn't the only one with that idea. It wasn't long before the "rich" American was spotted and we began to be swarmed by several fisherman.

From the moment I emerged from the vehicle, I was engulfed by a smell so powerful it seemed to be its own entity. I didn't have much time to think about it though, because from every direction bodies crowded around us and voices were calling out "lobster!" "squid!" "baracuda!" "swordfish!" and hands thrusted dead fish in our faces for us to inspect.

Once they realized I was only a spectator and all the purchasing decisions were up to Henry, I was able to walk around a little bit. These three little gems were waiting for our attention outside the crowd of salesman.

They smiled and giggled and ran away when I would pretend I was going to grab them. ( Ok, I wasn't pretending...but come on, how many children does Guinea really need? Let's not be greedy.) WildHeart was watching but soon wanted to join the fun. She pretended to grab them--only they were too intelligent for that. They weren't running from that beauty. When she opened her arms they stopped in their tracks and waited for the embrace. She looked at me, confused at why the game took a new direction with her. Get used to it, honey.

Not much later we loaded up and began the long, heavily trafficked journey home with our treasures.
Have a look at these shrimp-

I'm amazed as I look at that picture. I find it such an irony that a place with such desperate poverty, disease and need can produce such treasure.

The shrimp are pretty nice too.


  1. I LOVE this blog! I love getting a peek into the life there. Those are HUGE shrimp! Hiring a chef was an incredible idea. What cute babies also, please have Wild Heart catch one for me! Enjoy eating like kings, Smiths!

  2. oh girl, How I would love to come see and have you "show me" Africa. That brought tears to my eyes.

  3. Just reading this one again. One of my favorites, but I love them all. One of the little boys is wearing a batman shirt that Caleb wore when he was that age. But the Batman symbol is worn off. I love those lil guys! I feel like I know them from their expressions. I see friendship. Which is beautiful anywhere in the world!!! I just watched a documentary called Wild China and those women planting rice were dear, dear friends. I could just see it on their faces. I wonder what friendship will be like in the age to come. I miss my friend, as if you couldn't tell.