SAN PA TONG, THAILAND
The livestock and motorcycle market happens every Saturday just outside of San Pa Tong, about 20km south of Chiang Mai on the 108. You’ll see it, trust me – there’ll be about a kilometer of plastic tarps, police directing traffic and an overwhelming smell of barbecued pork.
Instead of the handmade shoulder bags and sushi stands of the Sunday Market, San Pa Tong is more of a water buffalo and 1974 Honda Supersport kind of place. You’ve gotta get up early though – it’ll take about forty-five minutes to get there and all the good buffalo action is over by about eight am. But if you do arrive in time and make your way through the darkened canopy, past the chinese sneakers and cheap machetes, you’ll find yourself among hundreds of snorting bovines and their prospective owners.
You’re going to try to avoid stepping in a pile of dung, but you’ll give up after about ten minutes.
In the back is the fleet of trucks that take the beasts to and from the market, where men in sweet hats try to subdue angry cows and buffalo long enough to wrestle them into the vehicles. Chickens and turkeys are a little bit easier, but they make a hell of a lot more noise.
In our next installment, we’ll take a look at the manifold array of awesome motorcycles sold at this fine event.