I’m starting to see a trend develop with my friend A. Last Wednesday she introduced me to the wet market and today it was the Crap Market or as it’s more formally known in GZ, One Link. It’s a 9-story building with stall after stall after stall that is full of all the stuff your little ones want to buy when they have $5 burning a hole in their pockets. Andrew would have loved this place when he was a kid because instead of 10 things he could have walked out with 20 for the same amount of money. He was a quantity over quality kid. I have heard about this place from several people almost since I landed and it is mind-boggling.
I hate to keep saying it, nah I really don’t, but it was a lot of fun. I hardly bought anything as I wanted to get the lay of the land and figure out what it was all about. This was a reconnaissance mission because to put it lightly: it’s overwhelming. We started in the basement as A had a place she wanted to go for purse sacs; little sacs that fold up to about a 2″x3″ rectangle. They are most helpful here because there are some places that you don’t get a bag. If you have one of these in your purse you’re golden when out and about. The first thing the shopkeeper will counter with when you ask how much… is how many. These places deal mostly with wholesalers although they do sell to individuals. The price is higher but still it’s cheap. They all use calculators because of the language and obviously they know we’re not locals and don’t speak Mandarin well, if at all. If I had had Mrs. Lyons for math like Kiersten and Andrew I would be able to do “grocery store” math in my head but I didn’t. I have to divide everything by 6.5 to get the $ amount. Why couldn’t it have been something easy like 5? Everyone needs a calculator when I’m involved in the bargaining process. A. negotiated a fair deal based on having bought from this man before. Final cost? 62 cents per sac. This should give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here.
We made our way up to the 5th and 7th floor. The merchandise is higher quality, home decor items and not trinkets. Translation = more expensive. It is opposite of what it is in the US. There the more expensive stores occupy the prime 1st floor real estate and it gets less expensive as you go up. It’s the opposite here. I have been told by several Chinese that they are lazy people. It’s OK for me to repeat that as it’s not coming from me. 🙂 If the cheap stuff is on higher floors they won’t make the trek up to buy it. Keeping it low makes it accessible for the everyday man.
After about 2 hours we were done. Your mind can only take so much stimulation before steam comes out yours ears and your eyes roll in your head. I know I’m not doing these markets justice in describing how massive they are and how much STUFF is in them. Now I know what all these Chinese people do that I see everywhere, they work in factories!!
For any of you that are planning on coming for a visit this is most definitely a stop on the Leidal tour. There are some things that can’t be missed and this is one of them.