Last night I got a call from one of my neighbours, would I be interested in joining him to the market in the nearby town of Sanpatong, he was going to buy a buffalo.
We started quite early, the drive down the valley was a chilly one, Po Pai, the man in the purple hat, and me sitting in the back of the truck. The weekly market is always very busy, people come from quite far to sell (or buy) cows, buffaloes, fighting cocks, handicrafts, plants and herbs, as well as the usual chinese tat.
It quickly becomes clear that there are two types of sellers, the people that come to sell their own animals and the traders, who buy the animals in far away villages and take them to the market. They remind of second hand car salesmen, you would not trust them as far as you could throw them, a picture of two of them is in the slideshow.
In the end Po Pai settled on a three year old girl buffalo for a little over 500 dollars, a big investment, probably most of the profit from the last corn harvest, which will pay for itself in a few years if the girl has children. In the meantime Po Pai has signed himself up for a lot of walking, taking the buffalo to different places for grass, hopefully she will come to graze at our place often, a fertilizer-producing lawnmower.
Buffaloes are also prized for their meat here, laab kwaai sot, raw buffalo meat salad is a favourite dish, one that is traditionally made for big gatherings like weddings or funerals, when it’s the men’s job to mince the meat by pounding it with a big knife and mixing it with the buffalo’s blood, before it’s seasoned with herbs and eaten, of course with sticky rice. It’s an acquired taste to say the least.