One of the most thrilling aspects of our trip were the vibrant markets of Southeast Asia. They were colorful, chaotic, inspiring, and at times even alarming. We encountered women balancing baskets stuffed with produce atop their heads, herds of teenage boys riding motor scooters, old toothless women hawking their wares, and medicine men with stacks of ancient cure-alls. There were piles of delicious looking exotic fruits, colorful orchids, heaps of chillies and stacks of banana leaves.
On the other end of the spectrum, we also saw blocks of congealed blood (used in soups), crispy insects, whole frogs, and, at one market, we even encountered a teenage boy sucking on the legs of a tarantula. I can't pretend to have tried all of these delicacies (or even been able to stand looking at them long enough to get a good photo) but whether delicious or disgusting, the sights, smells and sounds of Southeast Asia's markets were a culinary education in and of themselves, and an experience I will never forget.