Jinghong is the first Chinese city I’ve been to where I’ve discovered the local market. I just happened upon it right around closing time and it was quite special!
While most regular stalls had closed up shop for the day, the produce and food stalls were still going strong. Live seafood swam in tanks as roasted birds lay on metal tables with their necks wrapped in a loop. Vendors hawked tropical fruit I haven’t seen since my last time in Asia, including rambutans, lychees, dragon fruits and even that smelly durian!
As people thinned out, children played while waiting for their parents and vendors stared out at the mess surrounding them. Swept up piles littered the way (including an awful lot of glitter!) as a cacophony of smells filled the air.
I stopped along one of the many aisles to take a picture. A man approached the stall next to me (the red coat in the photo below) and plucked a cooked bird hanging by it’s neck, handing it to the vendor who promptly took her cleaver and chopped it into tiny pieces (bones and all) as far up as its eyes! As I stood there watching in bewilderment, the vendor turned to me, saw the expression on my face, and grinned.
As motorbikes whizzed by collecting merchants and their merchandise, I made my way to the night market, which had just begun a few blocks away. This one was actually quite nice as vendors sold unique items (unlike the night market in Guilin). It wasn’t solely aimed at tourists either, as I was the only westerner there!
One rather popular item was Mao Zedong paraphernalia, which was really the first of his cult of personality that I have seen here (except for all the money which, of course, bears his image), though admittedly I did see an older fellow in one of those famous green Mao outfits (cap and all) in Kunming yesterday! It’s quite a different situation than that of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, who seems to be revered throughout the country (though Ho’s role in Vietnamese history was significantly different than that of Mao’s in Chinese history).
It did occur to me that I hadn’t seen any Chinese lapel pins to add to my collection so I picked one up tonight bearing, what else? Mao’s image!