Radio Gift: Fruit Vendor, Boxing in Bangkok Day to Day continues to unwrap holiday presents for our listeners. NPR's Senior Correspondent Noah Adams brings a street melody from a vegetable and fruit vendor in New Orleans, while Scott Carney gives a tale from Thailand.

Radio Gift: Fruit Vendor, Boxing in Bangkok

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


It's DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

We're going to open another radio present, this one from an old time friend of our show.

NPR's Noah Adams who joins us from New Orleans.

Noah, welcome back to the show, and what is in the box?

NOAH ADAMS: Great to talk to you, Alex. I was in New Orleans a couple of weeks ago working on another story down in the marrowdy(ph) neighborhood sitting in a car with the producer, Allyson Price, waiting on somebody to show up. And we hear this sound - distorted, strange, melodic. It sounded like the blues. Here it is.

Mr. OKRA (Street Fruit Vendor): (Singing) I have eaton pares and apples. I have grapes. I have (unintelligible). I have (unintelligible).

CHADWICK: It is a little distorted. What does he say?

ADAMS: He is saying: I got Eaton pares and apples. And he's using his own PA system. This is Mr. Okra. He's got a truck. It's a vegetable and fruit truck just like the people use to come through with the horses years ago. On the truck it says juiciest fruits in the hood, Mr. Okra has. And I really wanted to know - maybe I should check it out, how far back that particular melody of that sales pitch goes for him?

CHADWICK: Did you ask him?

ADAMS: No I didn't. No I didn't. I was looking for the other person. But that's what happens. And then you think, well, you know, two years later you think I should have talk to that person more. But I have it on tape, at least, I have this part on tape.

CHADWICK: A New Orleans street melody. A Christmas gift from Noah Adams in New Orleans. A fruit vendor just making music right there.

Noah, thank you.

ADAMS: And on the side of his truck, Alex, it said: Be nice or leave.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ADAMS: That's always good advice especially today for a lot of us at home.

CHADWICK: Noah, Merry Christmas.

ADAMS: Same to you, Alex. Thanks.

Mr. OKRA: (Singing) I have apples. I have eaton pares. I have the mango. I have celery. I have lots grain, garlic grain. I have yellow squash. I have the (unintelligible). I have broccolis, asparagus, eggplant…

CHADWICK: And now to another city that's just as exotic as New Orleans - Bangkok, Thailand.

Earlier I spoke with Scott Carney. Now he sent us a radio gift too. He's normally based in India, but he had been in Thailand doing a story about tattooing, I think he said. Anyway, while he was there he wandered down a street and into a kind of a bar in a pretty bad neighborhood.

SCOTT CARNEY: I'm in the city street in Bangkok. One of the, sort of the main tourist and brothel draws. And I was just sort of walking up and down the street with my microphone just getting sounds of the area. And I walked into this one bar on a - on the corner of the street which was advertising Thai-boxing. And I hadn't seen a Thai-boxing match, so I sat down and there was this sort of a half go-go bar. If you've ever been to Bangkok or you just want to imagine Bangkok, just think of women in skimpy dresses, you know, with, you know, old 40, 50, 60, 70-year-old tourists with women on their arms, that sort of thing. So I walked into this TV bar and there was this very small boxing ring in the center.

(Soundbite of crowd)

Unidentified Woman: First round.

(Soundbite of bell)

CARNEY: And then this woman yells round one. There's the bell. And instantaneously you get this new sound of - which shows up - this is traditional Thai music with sort of foreign. It sounded a little bit like clarinets. And that's the music that they play during the fight.

(Soundbite of crowd)

CHADWICK: So Scott, the fight goes on for a while.

CARNEY: Mm-hmm.

CHADWICK: And then it's over and what? What, the place reverts to…

CARNEY: As soon as this is over and out of it, they do several rounds and if you blink you'll miss it. What happens is that these sort of minions come off at the side and dismantle the ring in a flash, and there's suddenly no ring and these boxers are sort of meddling around in the audience looking a little bit daze. And then all - then these tables are wheeled in and women start climbing on top of these tables and dancing in front of the audience. It's really a strange moment.

CHADWICK: A strange night in Bangkok. A moment to remember from 2007 from reporter Scott Carney based in Chennai, India.

Scott, thank you and Happy New Year.

CARNEY: Thank you very much, Alex, and Happy New Year to you as well.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.