Fish Market, Revisited

Go to the DC fish market during low tide and all the fish stalls will be floating a couple of feet below street level.

It’s been a while since I last visited the most picturesque fish market in our nation’s capital, but notwithstanding the 26 degree temperatures this past weekend, I decided to check it out to “see what I see,” as they say.  Of course, the bitter morning cold was keeping the crowds away, but those hardened fish salesmen were out in force, albeit shaking a bit from the cold behind the submerged fish displays.  I say submerged because for the first time ever I witnessed the effect of low tide on this entire fish operation.  In fact, since I had only visited this place during high tide, I never realized that most of the structures were actually floating on the Potomac.  The sad part was that being lower to the water was not doing these crusty guys any favors either.  Every time I approached a stall I could hear some comment about the cold, but not before getting the intensive sales pitch that inevitably comes with a slow sales day.  Couldn’t help but feel a little sympathy for them, especially when I saw them handling buckets of ice that didn’t seem necessary on a day like this.

During my conversations with one of the attendants there I also discovered that not all the fish being sold there comes from local waters (which, if you have taken a look at the Potomac River lately, may be a good thing).  This particular crew was complaining that the fish truck was late and that the delay was cutting into the time they had to adequately handle the fish before displaying it.  And where was this infamous fish truck coming from, you may ask?  Florida!  I have to admit that this was the last thing I expected to come out of this attendant’s mouth.  I’ve never driven to Florida, but from what they tell me, it takes something like 19 non-stop hours to get there.  Not being a fish expert, I kept wondering whether this little delay would be reason enough to do away with the “fresh fish” designation for whatever came out of that truck.  Oh well, I guess the old “caveat emptor” warning (let the buyer beware) will always be in effect.