Friday, October 19, 2012

Neighborhood Markets

Farmers’ Markets
We have a variation of our farmers’ market close by, actually two of them. One is in a basement kitty-corner from our apartment and the other is along the east edge of our campus.  We buy our fruit in the basement and just walk through the one on the street.  So many fruits and vegetables I have never heard of.  Some of the fish are still alive and gasping. None of the eggs are ever refrigerated and I can buy chicken feet anytime I want! The real challenge is getting the communication going. Yesterday I bought some fresh noodles from a vendor and when she realized I just wanted enough for two she scooped up the biggest pile and put them in a bag.  I boiled about a quarter of them and Paul calculated it cost us 8 cents for lunch. Being across the street, I go to the Underground Market daily.
East Gate Market
The East Gate Market, all along the eastern edge of the outside of campus,  is a little too authentic for us. Too much unprotected food with too much of it lying in gutters that have served who knows what purposes (so cute to see the babies with their gaucho pants with no bum in them just squatting over and doing their business anywhere!) Everyone says to shop there because it is cheaper than the Underground Market but if you can get clean noodles for 8 cents, who needs to get “more authentic” ones for 4 cents? This is just a couple of blocks away. Pretty much we would label it as full of dingy, not clean enough, “I am never going to eat there” restaurants and similar shops and market carts. The owners and workers all look pleasant enough, but everything about the East Gate area looks too sketchy and unclean for our standards (Paul speaking; Ann would be even more emphatic).
East Gate Market. Anyone want to eat here? 
West Gate Market
The West Gate Market area, just outside the western border of the campus, is full of very nice, very clean, very appealing stores, shops, and restaurants. Beautiful new modern hotel, museums, new upscale mall just opening , very nice current mall as well. Definitely a pleasure to go there. It is about 5 blocks away and so big that it is always a big walking (carrying) trip. It has lots and lots of restaurants, many of which are now our favorites. Nice place in our neighborhood.
Or here?
South Gate Market
The South Gate Market, all along the south of campus, is full of a little older, nice, clean, appealing stores, shops, and restaurants. We have eaten at many in both areas already. While most things are a step down from the West Market, the closeness of it makes it the place we have been to the most regularly
West Gate Tang Dynasty Hotel
They are everywhere. It is actually both impressive and surprising how many there are everywhere. If when you come to visit us, you decide not to stay in our apartment, there is a hotel 2 blocks away that looks adequate. Apparently it is where the BYU China teachers use to live. (Side note – it seems like a large number of BYU Teachers currently live in “residential” hotels. Interesting.) Just 4 blocks away is a beautiful new one right on the traditional end of the Silk Road (the Chinese would call it the beginning of the Silk Road).

East Gate Market
As with most everything it takes time to get used to changes and, while a lot of things are the same, so much is different.  Where else would you be able to set a large box of fireworks (about 18 inches square) in the middle of the crowded sidewalk in front of your on-campus store during the day and set it off?  I about jumped out of my skin but everyone else just went about their business and just ignored it. Actually, we have heard lots of firecrackers. It seems like a couple of times a week we hear very near large quantities of firecrackers. Its China.