the old quarter.
China Travel Blog› entry 18 of 66 › view all entries
A couple blocks down is a walled township. Some evenings I walk down to get a DVD or
Bowl of suijiao (boiled dumplings). The gateway is in the classical Chinese style with a
tiled roof .
In the entrance is small grotto with a local god there are incense sticks and rubbish strewn about before it. The space inside the old wall is stuffed with apartment blocks built just meters apart. I walk up the main alley to the market place. This alley is lined with grocery stores,barbers, teashops, noodle shops, hardware stores, a post office, pharmacy etc. There are wooden signs directing to the side passageways between the apartment blocks where “movie rooms” (there people pay a fee to watch a video on a small tv) and brothels (barbers with lurid neon lights) are tucked away.
The market square has an worn basketball court with bent hoops. The local labourers slip and slide on the court to the amusement of scores of children. Sometimes a crowd gathers around a group of tattered street acrobats. The drum beats while the small girls tumble and do handstands on rusty ladders. The market is nothing special the stalls sell the usual assortment of plastic things. I pick out a DVD and walk back.
When I go by the side passages I dodge old women carrying baskets home, children and animals playing in heaps of rubbish, avoid the young toughs with shaven heads, and look out for falling slops from the windows above. Smoke from clattering woks fills the air with the smell of supper the rattle of mahjong tiles reverberates in the dark. Another end to a day in the Chinese ghetto…