China 15: Markets for insects, antiques and marriage
Visit any Asian city and I suppose you will find some weird and wonderful markets, guaranteed to fascinate and sometimes sadden. During our almost-three days in Shanghai we made a point of hunting out….
Dongtai Lu Antique Market
Established about 30 years ago, this market became hugely popular with locals and tourists. Given more time and luggage space, I would’ve loved to fossick for ‘stuff’.
Too late now; I didn’t realise it at the time, but it’s due to be demolished. It may have already happened. It’s in one of the old neighbourhoods targeted for regeneration.
I wish I took more pictures here.
Our Sunday walkabout took us back through People’s Park and gave us the chance to visit the Shanghai marriage market. This would be our second, having found the Beijing equivalent a few days before.
Like there, here saw a big crowd of parents on quests to find a suitable partner for their adult offspring. It’s a serious business and I felt we were intruding a bit so I was careful to not be too obvious with photos, just snapping a few quickly with my phone.
This is an interesting article. Among all the umbrellas I saw an advertisement for a man, unusual in that it included a photo, and his parents were covering the bases as I saw it on another umbrella as well. China will apparently have 24 million unmarried men in 10 years time. (If you open the article, have a look at the URL – sounds about right!)
The Flower, Bird, Fish & Insect Market
I entered with some trepidation, not sure what we’d find.
Along narrow cluttered passageways we walked by stall after stall packed with many of God’s wee creatures, stored in methods convenient to stall holders and about a million miles away from where the living exhibits would rather be.
It’s deceptively large, taking up a whole city block. That’s a lot of creatures. Some are destined for dinner plates, some for loving homes. (I’m not sure what category the fighting crickets fall into.) Some die before they can be bought.
The sights, sounds, smells and stuffiness made me glad to step back out into fresh air. Or outside air at least.
Disturbing… and amazing that the powers-that-be couldn’t foresee the consequences of their one-child-policy.
Yep not much point churning out beloved sons if there aren’t enough wives to go around. Maybe polygamy is the answer!
Hi Hayley These are most interesting blogs such a different culture in every way. It is hard to describe thoughts on this. But thank you for sharing this. I have learnt heaps.
Some of the subject matter isn’t that pleasant, sorry Janice.
Gee I think that i would have had to pass on that market. Can not stand the thought of eating bugs, worms, and fuzzy little animals. You must have a strong stomach. I had to scroll through really fast so I did not have to look at the photos.
It surely was an educational trip. I can not imagine how dire the situation must be for all those families that have one son and then there are so few women. China surely made a mistake of great magnitude about the limit of children and allowing only the male babies to survive. What a mess.That is one way to control the population.
Yes the market was a bit icky, but lots of species were there to be sold as pets rather than anything more unpleasant. Until reading that article I’d never given the one-child policy implications a moment’s thought, but it will be interesting what happens over the next few decades. Great to hear from you Yvonne!
The only market that I would love to visit is the first one which is closing down! As for the marriage market and the bird/animal/insect market – oh how my heart sank 😦 What an eye-opener, Hayley. So far removed from the lovely fruit and veg market in my local town! Very interesting about the one-child policy and its implications now – I remember watching a programme years ago about how baby girls were quickly disposed of after birth – hideous 😦 let’s hope that all that bad is now in the past and China can celebrate both girls and boys equally.
I agree Lottie.