Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Market Shopping in China

On my second day in China one of the local teachers took me to the open markets with his family. The market is within walking distance from my apartment and have a variety of goods for sale. Of course this market is where you find the knock offs that are much cheaper, but also less quality goods than their counterpart. 

During my first two weeks in China I was struck by how different it was from back home. I had heard so much about China before I left, but I think experiencing it first hand and as a new citizen rather than a temporary visitor is so much different. I remember feeling kind of horrified and also aware of how dirty it was. I didn't think there was any way that I would return, let alone purchase anything from the markets. Once I got used to living here though, it just seems like a normal place to by cheap goods.

They sure love their hot dogs

You can find so many things for sale at the open markets. The one in my town is geared mostly towards shoes, clothing, handbags and home accessories. You can also find markets in the larger cities that sell more of the tourist goods. Where I live there are very few tourists, so the vendors typically sell to the locals that live in the city. 


Knock-off Designer Shoes


There are a lot of baby clothes for sale here. And the clothes look a bit different than back in the states. Babies here must potty train much earlier than in America. All but the very young infants wear clothes that are completely open in the bottom area and they don't wear diapers. Instead, the mother periodically holds the baby out over the street, or allows the toddler to squat in the street, to do their business. I have witnessed this many times already in various places. I have seen mothers squatting with their children on the side of a highway, on a park bench or right there in the middle of the market. The baby will either pee or poop or both. The mother will use a plastic bag to clean up the poop, but the urine, that just stays right where it lands. Since, I've learned to avoid walking in the wet spots whenever possible.   

Outside the market place, most people ride their scooter or bicycle, so the parking lot looks a lot different than the local malls that I'm used to.

Also, there are several food vendors that set up shop outside the market. The first few weeks I was hesitant to eat anything from an outdoor vendor, especially considering the adjustment period my stomach was going through adapting to the new organisms in my new environment. But I have since tried many different street foods and I haven't had anything yet that I didn't like. Nor has anything made me ill.

Shopping at the open markets is a truly unique experience. I've seen returned to the markets and I've actually purchased a few things for my apartment. A few blankets to cover the hideous couch and chairs, plus a cheap rolling suitcase. You can't beat the prices! I paid $4 US for the blankets and $15 US for the suitcase. It was a much better bargain than I found elsewhere!

Have you experienced the open markets? What did you think?

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