Dalat Night Market Hilarity
I’m not sure whether it was the great conversations, the new friends met over street food, or the police inspection mayhem that made me love the Dalat Night Market, but it’s a night I find myself remembering often.
The chaos started early, as my friend and I sat perched on the steps overlooking the area where the night market was setting up. The food vendors were settling in for the evening with their BBQ carts full of meat sticks, or their drums of Soya Bean Milk, or their baskets of shell fish assortments. Each had a set of tiny, colourful tables and stools – the sorts used for children back in Australia. People started filling the seats and the buzz of the market began.
But before long, as we watched on, the people holding their food and drink jumped up from their seats. People seemed to come running from out of nowhere. Chairs and tables were stacked and hidden at the speed of lightning. The cooking carts and drums were wheeled back to the edge. The stalls just seemed to disappear in a matter of seconds.
We sat shocked from our lookout on the stairs, trying to figure out what the hell just happened. But then we saw it… a police van entering the street, doing a lap of the roundabout, and just as quickly leaving again.
The chaotic few seconds of packing up now reversed itself and all the chairs, tables, carts, people, food and drink went back to their original positions just as fast as they were packed up.
“Police?” we asked to a soup vendor standing near to us. “Yes! Police! Trouble! Pay money!” she said.
Over the course of the evening, about 4 hours in total, the scene repeated itself about 6 times. One of these times, we happened to be sitting amoungst it, half way through our meal. From inside the mayhem, we saw the most hilarious of sights… like the man standing with a table suspended above his head while the police looked at him, and just acting like there was nothing to see here. Or the fierce old grandma, usually holding wads of cash, acting all frail as she pulled out a measly collection of small notes and insisting to the policeman that she didn’t have any money for the fine.
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard as I did that night in Dalat. It will definitely be one of those random events that sticks in my mind for a long time.