July 28

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The new morning me

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I have been transformed into a morning person – which will have those who know me laughing out loud. But seriously, my former zombie-like waking self has disappeared with the change of time zones. Mornings are my favorite time now – even before coffee – hard to imagine, I’m sure.

At 5am it is still and quiet. I wake to the squeek-squeek-squeek of the recycle man walking his wagon down the street, his first lap of the day. Funny it is always just 3 squeeks – and exacty the same sound all over the city, as if it had been formally decreed. Can you see the yellow bottle in his left hand? That’s the standard issue “recycle alert” device – rather like a mustard bottle with a squeaker attachment at the top.

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From my window the street below is empty this early hour. There are no motos puttering by, no tuk tuks on the corners. Only soft sounds, birds, a small yippy dog and hushed morning voices drift up to my balcony.

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In a while the bread man will peddle by – he plays a recording, a woman’s voice very formally announcing the daily wares. First time I heard it, I thought it was a political speech. He rides a standard bicycle that has a huge round woven basket mounted over the back tire. It is easily big enough to carry me. A tall stick arches up and across the basket – a small bag of rolls hangs there for all to see. Marketing 101?

The quiet doesn’t last long. Within the hour, shopkeepers start rolling back the gates and garage doors fronting the streets – I’d recognize that sound anywhere.

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And then comes the chicken man – delivering corn, green herbs and pot-ready chickens dangling on either side of his bike. Soup fixin’s would be my guess.

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Finally then, the fruit peddlers – no signature sound announces them as they push wagons up and down the endless streets, their carts piled high with shapes I’m still learning to recognize… big green coconuts, pinky-sized bananas, and a few with a selection of strange spiky fruits, red and brown and green – big and small.

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Haven’t tried the prickly ones yet – that will be next Saturday’s mission when I go back to Central Market.

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