After a successful birthday celebration for Jeanee, which was filled with unlimited watery coffee and blackberry pancakes, we headed off to Xiaguan on the #8 bus. I realized that the best place to do some great people watching is on a public bus. Little kids are holding onto dear life to their hot dog snacks as they are crammed next to their parents. Men pass around cigarettes to their friends while teenagers crank up the volume on their cell phones to listen to Chinese pop music. Riding the bus was an adventure in itself, and we hadn’t made it to our destination yet.
Once we stepped off the bus, we were greeted by the sights, sounds, and smells of the busy city. Music was blaring from every store and the wind was howling. Walking on the sidewalks in China is always a tricky feat. Everyone is either looking down at the ground to make sure they don’t trip on the broken pavement or they are intensely looking at their cell phones. This is when I play “sidewalk chicken” with the rest of the Chinese population. Just picture the scene from “Footloose” when Kevin Bacon’s character is up against his high school rival and they are playing a dangerous game of chicken in their trucks. Yes, that’s me in China, but on a sidewalk level. Some days I am victorious, while other days I decide to just step aside.
Jeanee, Bryce, and I finally reached the open air market. Jeanee had to run off to buy something for the kitchen staff at a nearby store, so Bryce and I decided to explore all of the goods at the market. We turned it into a fun Science exploration, especially when we came to the meat and seafood section of the market. With one slight turn, we were both staring at enormous frogs, who were peeping out of the water and slimy eels that snaked across their pile of friends to escape the next customer’s reach. Luckily, we both didn’t have weak stomachs after seeing all of the creepy crawlers that would probably be made into soup. With a successful trip to the Xiaguan market tucked away in our back pocket, we were all ready to sneak back to Dali on the bus and enjoy more soup noodles.