The Markets - Part 4

Go Back to First Impressions: Part Three:

Now I am your typical female that enjoys shopping, but the street markets take shopping to new heights. You bargain for everything.  There is a morning market and a night market every day.  The morning market starts around 4 AM and ends around 10 AM.  The night market is from about 4 PM to about 9 PM.

The markets are kind of like our flea markets with lots of different stalls. Then again, the flea markets are nothing like the street markets. The night market is the most interesting. Stalls are made from tarps and aluminum poles. They are 3-sided, no roof, no floor.  They are lit with bare bulbs connected to wires strung for just that purpose.

The night markets are the best for buying clothes, while the morning market is mostly for food. I always loved going to the market. It was always so fascinating.  And there are always so many people. It is literally a sea of people as you are pushed from all sides.

Tarps are laid on the sidewalk and street with the goods on top. There are mounds of tomatoes and peppers, onions and eggplant. Each vendor has their own scale to weigh out your purchases, but some customers bring their own scales.  Carts of assorted porcelain are scattered throughout the market street.  There are bags of roasted, in-the-shell sunflower seeds, bags of assorted tea leaves, and cardboard boxes full of crackers among other things.

In the meat market section there are galvanized tubs full of water and almost live fish or dead fish piled on a tarp. Whole, plucked chickens piled in the back of someone’s truck. Large boards on top of sawhorses become tables for butchers to cleave off the slab of meat you want from the whole critter—cow, sheep, horse, pig or whatever is available.  Hearts, livers and other parts rest on plastic bags on the street. (Once I almost stepped on a tarp of sheep heads.) Intestines are strung from clothesline.

The meat market section is the only thing that I do not like about the street market.  Coming face-to-face with a dead, upside-down chicken, almost stepping on something’s heart, or almost getting slapped in the face with intestines is pretty gross.  Not to mention, the smell of the fish would knock a mule over at twenty paces. No, I did not like the meat market.

Some vendors cook on the street. Glutinous rice and bean paste pancakes or rice balls, Steamed bread or stuffed buns. Large metal drums are sawn in half and used to roast ears of corn or sweet potatoes. Tea eggs are wheeled along on carts.

There are also piles of clothes and shoes. Bags and hair accessories. There are towels and coat hangers and clothespins. Washbasins and trashcans are stacked high. There are carts with makeup and toiletries and toilet paper.

And, the best part, the “yi quai” man. He and his helpers stand at the corners of his tarp shouting, “Yi quai, yi quai, yi quai”. Everything is only one yuan or about twelve cents. There are rolling pins, scrub pads, packs of clothespins, knives, tape measures, tin bowls, plastic mugs with lids, serger thread, address books, mirrors, combs and all sorts of other stuff.

Go Forward to Part Five: Lessons to Learn
Daily Proverb

Proverbs 18:24

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.