We went to the fruit and vegetable market at Piata Obor on Saturday as part of a renewed family drive to ensure we buy as much local (as in Romanian) produce as possible. Besides buying some fabulous potatoes (one leu a kilo), apples, parsnips, parsley, tomatoes, pears and some asparagus from, ahem, Peru, we also bought some pork from one of the many butchers in the main hala. Like the fruit and veg at Obor, the pork is almost half the price of what you pay in the supermarkets, and tastes infinitely better.
Anyway, while walking around we couldn’t help noticing a few more unusual treats for sale, from intestines and stomachs to pigs’ ears, a delicacy we just couldn’t help immortalising with a photo:
And that was when the trouble started.
We are well aware that a certain American photographer who regularly comments on these pages often gets himself into all sorts of scrapes when trying to take photos in Bucharest in crowded places like markets. Yet until yesterday we had never had any problems (the Bucharest metro excepted). We try to be as discrete as possible, and avoid taking photos where we know such things are frowned upon (supermarkets, malls). Yet a market is a public space, and taking photos should not be an issue. At Obor on Saturday, it was.
No sooner had we taken the photo of the pigs’ ears than we were set upon by almost all the staff working at the butcher’s in question, and the one next to it. ‘He’s taking photos! He’s taking photos!’ they shouted, summoning the security guards. We played the dumb tourist and quickly walked away.
We can only assume that the traders in question are on the dodge and their staff illegally employed. Why else would they object to a photo being taken of their produce?
Answers on the usual postcard please.