Friday, November 19, 2010

Fishy Photos in Manila

My flight was late leaving Nagoya and it was about 1:30 AM by the time I got through immigration, out of the baggage claim and through customs. Edz was waiting for me outside in the waiting zone, which was split up alphabetically according to last name. A-M takes the ramp on the left, while N-Z goes right. They both go to the same place. At 2 AM the crush of people was manageable; I'm guessing it's busier at other times of the day.

Edz and her brother, Elvin, already had a hotel for us and we took a taxi there. Not having to worry about checking in after my 28 hour flight was a blessing.

I had told Edz that I wanted to visit the fish market in Manila before we left for Batangas, and I assumed that meant we'd be going at 6 AM or 7 AM.

Boy, was I wrong.

We left the hotel for the market at 3 AM, and the streets were as busy as Washington, DC in the middle of the day. We walked for a bit, then took a jeepney. When the jeepney dropped us off, we took a bicycle taxi and all had a good laugh as the driver struggled to get the bike moving with my fat ass weighing down the seat.

The market was right around the corner and even at 3:30 AM was busier than any place, literally any place, back on the East Coast.

The ground was wet and fish guts were being splashed everywhere. I'm glad I decided to wear my boots rather than my slippers.

The market was right along the water. As boats unloaded their catch, merchants would buy their fish and then carry them in buckets to their stalls. Or something like that. Honestly, I don't really know. There were so many people calling for people to buy their fish, fishy water being splashed around, and general madness, that I'm sure there was a lot more going on that I didn't understand.

fish market filipino

Some of my favorite fish can be found on this table...not fish to eat, though.  The fish with the stripes are sweetlips, which are on a conservation poster back on Saipan.  The round shaped fish are longfin spadefish, which I think are really cool looking underwater.  The steaks along the top of the photo are shark.

shark market
Speaking of which, we came across only two merchants selling sharks. I don't know the species name, but this guy was being sold whole. Another merchant, photographed above, was selling three or four that had been chopped up into pieces. The fins were attached and it was being sold as meat.

giant yellowfin tuna
This was the biggest tuna at this morning's market, a yellowfin that probably weighed as much as me, all right, let's not exaggerate, as much as Edz.

moray eel food
I'm not a big fan of eating eels, never have been. The grey eels in the tide pools on Saipan always grossed me out and I think of them when I see eel on the sushi menu. Same goes for mussels. I hate mussels. But anyway, this merchant had some moray eels for sale.

blue spotted ribbontail rays and blue spotted stingrays
The blue spots don't come out very bright in these, but I think this is a bucket of blue spotted ribbontail rays (the round ones) and blue spotted stingrays (the diamond shaped ones). I recognize them both from Google Ocean stories I wrote for the Smithsonian in the last month. I can now confirm that people eat them.

******
I slept a lot on the plane coming over, so maybe I'll have an easy time with jetlag. We got back to the hotel room at about 5 AM and went straight to bed. I was wide awake two hours later. I'm crossing my fingers that I can stay awake.

Edz has plans for my credit card at the Mall of Asia today. She says she wants to go ice skating there.

By the way, did I forget to mention I was going to Manila?

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