Sadly, the open air fruit and veg. market (the old cài shì chǎng) on Yáng Jiā Cūn, behind the clothes market on Cháng’ān Lu and just across the road from Shī Dà, is no more. A few screws loosened here, a bit of corrugated metal cut there, and the whole thing just collapsed to the ground. During the last few nights, a solitary overworked digger and a convoy of thundering yellow trucks have done their fair share of over time to quickly clear the last remnants and reminders of those busy market days, now passed.
For 4 years I lived overlooking this vegetable market and so I was saddened when I first heard about its impending demise. It was always an atmospheric place in which to do your fruit and veg. shopping; an easy reminder that this is a life in China that is being lived; with its own rules of hygiene, ways of bartering and friendly banter. The market was also a useful short cut for me and my bike when heading south. In short, it was a pivotal part of this neighbourhood, and thus for me, and for many more I have no doubt, it was a sombre moment to see it go.
However, just before the inevitable happened I got Master Blackett along and we snapped a few pictures for posterity. I will add some of them below, a couple of reminders of those happy ‘old’ market days. I thank Gareth, and also raise a mixed glass of ginger, peanut and chilli-eggplant juice in remembrance. We’ll have to wait and see what the new market’s like, but hopefully it won’t price too many of the old marketeers out of their own market.