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Timor-Leste: Maubisse market

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Maubisse market | Timor-Leste | Asia

[Visited: November 2014]

We are on our way south after climbing Mount Ramelau, but knowing it is market day in Maubisse, we turn north on the main road. To our surprise, the market is still in full swing, and at first, we just sit down, and watch the typical market scenes unfold before our eyes. Women sorting out the best stuff, scrutinizing the wares for sale and assessing their qualities and value, and sealing a deal. We move along the main road, stop every now and then to have a closer look. We find lots of vegetables, mostly green, but comparatively less fruits. We see colourful ladies, and discover that getting in touch is easy, even though we do not speak the same language.

Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): On Sundays, the main road of Maubisse is turned into a market

Smiles are internationally understood. Most of the market ladies are chewing beetle nut, and regularly spitting the red contents of their mouths on the street. Not only does it leave red stains everywhere on the road, but their mouths turn dark red. Whenever they smile, it gives them a special look. There is a building for the market, but much of the trading goes on on the street, which also happens to be the main road linking Dili to the south of the country. Wherever we stop, a group of people gathers around us. They do so out of curiosity: no one tries to sell anything. Actually, at one point, I see a women with a basket full of ginger and, assuming they are for sale, I take one and ask for the price. The lady looks at me with a funny stare, the kids laugh - and it takes a while until I understand that that bag full of ginger is hers, and she just bought it herself!

Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Woman chewing beetle nut at the market of Maubisse

There is a basketball field, now used as a clothes market. Then, there is a square with stalls, and behind it, we enter the main market area. Here, we find men smoking while plucking chicken, others just sitting and watching others at the market. We are a sight ourselves, and we often stop to chat. At the back, there are more stalls, mostly with clothes and shoes, but traders start to put their wares into bags and boxes, and take down their stalls. We buy some small stuff at a few stalls, and back in the main street, there are signs that this quiet market will not last much longer. A man walks by with his newly acquired goat, others have bags on their heads, and walk away from the market. Every now and then, old pick-up trucks appear, and people come to climb into the back and go home: the market is slowly coming to an end.

Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Smoking men with chicken at the market
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Market with colourful headscarf at the market of Maubisse
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Young girl at the market of Maubisse
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Man at the market, dressed in orange head cover
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Woman at a stall of the market, waiting for customers
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Woman at the market of Maubisse
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Women at the market, selling vegetables
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Onions for sale at the market
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Two women sitting in a corner of the market with covered heads
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Women on the street at the market of Maubisse
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Two men observing the market
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): Leaves rolled up and offered for sale at the market
Picture of Maubisse market (Timor-Leste): People going home at the end of the market

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