Main Street flies flat and straight through the heart of Malinau, lined with food stalls, snack shops, drugstores, and more places selling handbags than it seems like the town could possibly support. The main form of mass transit is public minivans, which run up and down all day long.

I disproved my own theory about the handbag stores by stopping to get a bag for my recording kit. This little kid kept staring hypnotically at me. Then he tried to take my camera. That’s his mom laughing hysterically in the background.

Most of the side streets are narrow alleys that lead down to the river. For some reason the market is stuffed into one of these alleys. It’s a constant people-jam in there. I was interviewing a dried-fish seller when she startled me by grabbing my arm and yelling “cart! cart!” That was my cue to jump up on a little curb that runs the length of the alley, so a boy pushing a cart of coconuts could squeeze through.


Author: Trish Anderton

I am a nonprofit communicator, Red Sox fan and amateur streetfoodologist. Once upon a time I worked for the Jakarta Globe & Jakarta Post.

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