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Trip to the local wet market 菜市场


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Yes, even that would count in one's quest to avoid leading a boring, buttoned down, cookie cutter life. Sometimes such events produce revulsion, like your example or @somethingfunny's of the vendor skinning live frogs. At other times they produce little flashes of joy and a feeling that it's great to be alive here and now in the moment.

 

A disparate mix of raw experience that hasn't been filtered, censored or "prettied up"  is part of what I like about back-street, non-tourist China. Some people who visit find that disturbing and hasten to get back to a tamer, more predictable, more comfortable version of the norm.

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Agreed! The vast majority of my best memories are from the "back alley" experiences, like that gutter oil noodle shop where squid parts went flying out of the doorway only to smack the wall and fall limply to the concrete floor of the outdoor eating area (alright, it was actually the street), or the sweating waiter with his rotund belly carrying boiling hot bowls of Isurehopethatreallyisbeef to your table, shirtless and jolly even while swatting the mosquitoes landing on his bald head (damned good pseudo-beef!).

 

I thought it was terribly depressing as I lived in the 留学生宿舍 with ~75 foreign students, all too many of whom felt the best parts of China were the monolithic shopping malls, the manicured panda zoos, the "ancient streets" (built circa 1994), the fake Great Walls or the 好又多. Street side skewered lamb eaten on tiny plastic stools or strolling along the wet markets you so beautifully documented were not very attractive to them.

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Sometimes such events produce revulsion, like your example or @somethingfunny's of the vendor skinning live frogs.

Hehe, reminds me of the live frog & snake "storage system" at a popular Changsha yexiao. Initially cages by the street, until they got told not to use the street - for tables or frog & snake storage.

 

Snacking shifted inside, and then one day I went to the toilet, & there were the doomed amphibians & reptiles in their cages, right by the squat toilet...

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Snacking shifted inside, and then one day I went to the toilet, & there were the doomed amphibians & reptiles in their cages, right by the squat toilet...

 

Funny! No prime real estate wasted on death row inmates.

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