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The alleyway.

Just outside the building where I live, there’s an alleyway, with a host of small shops and stalls. I often go down there to buy my vegetables (cheaper and fresher than from the supermarket), talk to shopkeepers (it’s just two really, so far) and see random, interesting things. Pictures will probably be able to describe this much better than I would be able to with words, so here we go…

Casually chilling outside a pet(?) shop. The inside was full of plants..

Can you blame that top one for looking so bored? Awkward turtles.

My preferred vegetable stop.

He’s always smiling, and waits patiently while I examine what’s what. (I’m sure all the vegetables are different colours, shapes and sizes than I’m used to. I did accidentally manage to buy a cabbage the first time I tried to buy lettuce… Oops.)

Trying to teach me to play Chinese chess.

A live game of Mahjong, or as it’s really known as: 麻将(májiàng)

Don’t be fooled… It’s a lie!
“iPhones” are very popular here.

Other things I’ve been getting up to over the past few days include giving the collection of empty water bottles I’d been building to these water bottle recyclers, and trying Birthday Cake flavoured Oreos…

I think he appreciated it as he watched in surprise as I pulled out another and another and another bottle from my bag.

Bottle collectors.

Definitely better than green-tea Oreos


The night market

So maybe the title makes it sound a lot shadier than it is, but that’s what I call the collection of (probably illegal) goods’ stalls lining the road outside my flat. Walking down the road after dark, you can find a whole range of things laid out on sheets on the pavement, in no particular order: Loads of types of shoes, trolleys of hair accessories, fancy looking Chinese tea sets, jewellery, socks and underwear, make up, perfumes, phone covers, phone chargers, phone accessories, books (I was shocked to see English books like The Millennium Trilogy and Harry Potter last night!), and clothes, clothes and more clothes hanging from strings put up between the trees that line the roadside. Unfortunately, when I ask prices, as a foreigner, I’m quoted an expensive (Chinese) price. Haggling would be a lot easier if my Chinese was any good.

The street is usually bustling, with people browsing the stalls, sitting outside restaurants eating, the odd pair of older Chinese men playing some sort of Chess-looking game (I have yet to investigate their games) and…dogs. Lots of dogs. It’s not unusual at all to see about one dog every minute!! Chinese dogs, or rather – their owners, have an interesting fashion sense though!

Just tonight, as I was walking past, a group of people had gathered and were blocking the pavement. As I got closer, I could hear voices rising… An argument had broken out – a piece from a Chinese tea set was broken on the pavement. I quickly made my way past them, not wanting to get caught in the middle of a Chinese argument (I’ve witnessed a couple of these in close range, they can get nasty!), but really – what do the stall owners expect selling fragile goods on the road? I wonder how that issue was settled.