We are in Bangkok and, constantly searching for authenticity, we visit the Khlong Toei district, home to the city’s largest fresh market. A jumble of stalls and pavilions makes up a dense network of paths where carts and motorcyclists make their way through the crowded lanes. Open round the clock, traders work non-stop, satiating the mouths of more than 10,000,000 people.
‘Whatever you eat in Bangkok, know that it comes from here,’ Gabriele tells me as we arrive at the endless entrances of this labyrinth.
So we decide to split up, letting our senses and curiosity to taste, if only for a few hours, the visceral love of traditional Asian food guide our ways.
Carried along by a stream of bodies, I enter a darker part of the marketplace where shadows transport carcasses and shreds of flesh.
I step into a place where light has no place. Fading, it is coloured red, with shreds of intestines dripping from the tables as crawling beasts try to feed. My feet move forward in the dark while the air I breathe combines death and life.
The butchers sneer merrily while I – an unwitting farang* – I’m caressed by the horrid, in which guilty, I find relish and feel that the rawness of this place is imbued with sacredness.
I try to find meaning. Perhaps there is none yet. But I await it in a time that passes marked by the tolling of the machetes.
It may be true that every sacrifice corresponds to the sign of a life, past, or future, which remains difficult to understand. But I’m willing to accept it if it means surrendering to all this humanity.
, a Persian word used in Thailand to refer generically to white European people