August in China: A Village Market

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We were delighted that our visit coincided with market day. The market comes round to this corner of town every eight days, so it was a lovely bit of fortune we had. There were lots of villagers from all over coming here to stock up on necessities and buy and sell livestock.

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Bird flu or not, I was delighted to find a makeshift stall selling chicks and ducklings. Some of these chicks were so energetic that they managed to hop up onto the wire mesh in an attempted escape. The stallholder would simply toss them gently back to join its brothers and sisters.

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There were lots of ducklings of various ages on sale. Some were just a few days old and the older ones about a week or so old.

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They were packed into rattan carriers for transport back so they could be fattened nicely back on the ponds.

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The fruit stall was very popular. There were plenty milling around tasting the watermelon, bananas and grapes. I loved the grapes there. They were like none I’ve tasted before. These were huge, round and bursting with wine flavour. Sure, they had seeds and tough skins that had to be peeled or spat out, but the extra tannins only added to the tart, yet honeyed muscat flavour. I still dream of those grapes. Even the over-priced Japanese grapes couldn’t compare to these.

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Of course, we had to do more than just buy fruit. We ended up buying a live chicken for dinner! The stallholder was taken aback that these silly tourists would buy a chicken. Ours cost us the princely sum of ¥17.40.

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We carried it thus trussed-up all the way back. Willy happily toted it most of the way, basking in the astonished double-takes of passing villagers. It made a slightly tough but absolutely delicious dinner.

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