7:30am and the streets are bustling with locals…many are elderly Chinese (often with their grandchildren)….they’re in their element, out and about, primed for business (and socialising)!
There’s an awful lot of yelling (which for a non-morning person, seems a tad extreme) but it’s all par for the course when you step into the whirlpool of commotion that is the morning wet markets, in the middle of north west China!
It’s a fascinating kaleidoscope of colour, set up right in the middle of a quiet village street, which come afternoons, will resume its place as a peaceful haven of tranquility.
But for now, it seems, everything and anything is up for grabs….
Cooking up a barbie? This is where you get your fresh meat, looking, well extremely fresh, perched on the back of a truck for your perusal…
Note: Large axe at the ready, sitting on a tree stump – (obviously the perfect chopping board)!
Just across from the meat truck, fresh crisp bread (that make the perfect pizza bases) is being baked in a giant kiln at a rapid pace…
A trike loaded with fresh flowers sets off for the day.
Further into the flurry of heaving bodies — noodles are being frantically weighed and chopped on the back of bikes; truckloads of Tofu stand at the ready and people are hastily exchanging their hard earned cash for tonight’s dinner.
Eggs of every shape and colour overflow from baskets on the footpath and vegetables in every shade of green are laid out along the ground, ripe for the picking.
Fresh fish (and I mean so fresh they are alive) flap in buckets until you make your selection. (Don’t mind the ‘Wai guo ren’ (foreigner) stifling her shriek as she spies the fish being retrieved and hastily hit over the head ready for purchase.)
It’s clearly a feast for the eyes and at times an assault on ones senses….
Just to the side of the markets is a large park. Wednesday morning and it’s brimming with life.
Every single nook and cranny is occupied.
It occurs to me that no one does mornings like China’s senior citizens!
Pockets of the park are punctuated with groups of women dancing in unison….
Lone men sit playing their favourite instrument. There’s no busking, this is simply playing for pleasure. Others stand under the shade of a tree practicing Tai Chi.
Stationary exercise machines are being given an emphatic work out and strange sports that clearly involve a high degree of skill are underway with gusto!
Men huddle together playing Mahjong; a choir is gathered under a small pagoda singing to their heart’s content.
Just nearby rows of ping pong tables are witnessing some lively games.
Others, content to go it alone.
And then this…. a traditional sword dance!
Good Morning Xi’an!
This is China.