A short hop, skip and a jump from the flat/apartment, is a smallish local market, nestled along one stretch of an intersection. Strolling up and down its length was my first experience of such a market in Shanghai. The mission was simple, yet dangerous … gather food for dinner! (Dun dun dun! Insert film clichés here).
The open air and alive fish section caught me a little off guard. Sure I’ve seen pet shops and fish markets, but nothing quite like this. In each bubbling basin lay an array of different sea food, all alive and kicking. A good few making a mad dash for freedom during my short visit alone. The stall itself was sharply decorated by one gut ridden chopping board, on which the seller executed and gutted his goods there and then. Fortunately me and my Aunt purchased a number of shrimp, which didn’t require such special treatment. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging the practice, I’m merely describing how this new and interesting experience unraveled before me. Take for instance the carrying of the purchased shrimp. My Aunt handed me the bag they were contained in, I think their jumping and kicking freaked her out a little, I know it freaked me out a little, but I wasn’t about to let that show.
Moving on through the market came the less alive produce, vegetables. This part of the market was altogether a little less remarkable. Not too dissimilar from market days back in England, just a large selection of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. One clear contrast however, was the lack of catchy slogans and deals bombarding the ears. At least not in the manner I am used to. There is every chance the vendors were advertising such deals, but I couldn’t understand them if they were. No £1 fish songs or get your potatoes 50p for a pound.
But alas, market day was a good day, a window into the everyday lives of some of the locals. It’s funny how some aspects of life seem so universal, don’t you think?