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When you drive around Tampa, almost any neighborhood you drive through gives you a resounding feel of floridiana americana. From the palm-trees to swamps, there is a lot of local flavor around here which is shared by the rest of Florida. The one exception I’ve found in my three years living here is the Wat Mongkolratanaram temple. I found a not so little secret in Tampa earlier last year. A buddy of mine took me to the local Thai Temple on a Sunday morning. Every Sunday morning around the para-noon hours, they have an outdoor food market with vendors making homemade thai concoctions. There is nothing short of delicious there. Everything purchase is a donation which ranges from $1-5. Pair excellent food with a riverside meditation garden and dining tables, and what you have is a very unique experience as far as Tampa is concerned. Now I’ve been to Thailand, so when I pulled into the grotto where the temple resides, the sights, sounds, and smells rushed me back to my teenage journey oh so long ago. The market is full of friendly locals…it almost feels as if you were meeting a group of American travelers in a foreign country…everyone sharing their stories.
I’ve been to the market several times, and its always a little sad as 2pm rolls around and the market closes up. I usually leave in an uplifted peaceful mood;Even though Tampa is sunny, going to this place makes it seem a little brighter.

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