While on an outing with a group of friends in South India, we had to pass through an outdoor wholesale fish plant/ market to catch a small boat that would take us to the opposite shore. As there was no fixed schedule, I started to explore the plant. The first thing that hits you is the smell. If you magnify the odor of fish at least 100 times and it could even be more than that, you have an approximation of the intensity of the smell. The world of smelly fish abounds in all its variations: there is the sweet scent of freshly caught fish, there is the stench of rotting fish at every stage of decay and there is the pungent aroma of shellfish drying in the sun. I wonder if you can still buy nose plugs because they would have been very useful. It is surprising, however, how quickly you can get used to anything, even an odor as unpleasant as rotting fish! Fortunately this took place outdoors and it was a beautiful day.
This market was more like a circus with multiple tents and assorted attractions, drawing your eye from one activity to the next.
Women in sarees, carry heavy plastic crates of fish on their heads from the boats at the shore to the scales. They go back and forth all day. A few locals negotiate a purchase for their meal but mostly the business is on a larger scale.
While wandering around this unusual fish plant, I kept an eye out for my boat to come in. I hurry toward the water’s edge where all the passengers are now gathering. I board the small skiff, content with the few shots I managed to capture and relieved that I am leaving the aroma of a South Indian fish plant behind.