First - Mrs. Wakefield’s class request. Pictures of what they call a supermarket here definitely isn’t what we would call a supermarket at home. When we think supermarket, we think: eggs, milk, bread, meat, produce, various canned and boxed good, etc. No. Here in China, that is not a supermarket. What they would call a supermarket, I would more accurately call a convenience store. At least to our American standards.
You really find stands and small stores, local outdoor markets, bakeries, and butcher shops for all those needs. All in your neighborhood, all relatively fresh (although I’m not really trusting the meat that hangs off of hooks - I don’t even think about where restaurants get their meat) and really convenient. How’s that for buying local for you? I took a picture of a common fruit store on the street just as an example. I’m one of those people that feel uncomfortable taking pictures up close of random people, so I took the picture from a distance. I’m sure a lot of you have already seen this method of selling goods before, so no need to go close anyway. =)
However, while we were on our holiday, we managed to encounter not one, but TWO Wal-marts in a city smaller than Chengdu in one day. Crazy! I have only heard of one Wal-mart in Chengdu, and that is out in the periphery of the city to discourage most people from buying items there (speculation). But the Wal-marts here are like nothing you will ever imagine Wal-mart to be back in the States. I took a few pictures before my camera ran out of battery.
Entrance inside one Wal-mart. High end goods sold by ladies in Wal-mart aprons before you enter the rest of the store!But these types of stores, like Wal-mart or Carrefour (mentioned earlier), aren’t very common and hardly accessible to most people. Therefore, I am a fan of local, neighborhood businesses with shady looking stores but good prices and products. No arguments here. In my limited knowledge, seems like most of the world runs on neighborhood markets, not the supermarkets of America. But that might just be me. What do you think?
And for my high school readers – here are some products that we have in China that we are very familiar with in the United States.
And it’s not just food but products we use every day. Weird, huh? And kind of makes sense at the same time. China is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, so it doesn’t make it too hard to believe we can find a lot of familiar things (in different packaging) here. Globalization. It works.
Of course, you can’t find everything you want here (Ailene thinking back to her first desperate days in Chengdu looking for lined loose leaf paper and index cards), but you can get pretty darned close. And sometimes, you just have to improvise. Which means you can get by with a little ingenuity and an open mind. Not a bad thing at all. Think of the poor college student days ahead of you, and you’ll know what I mean. So I’ll just leave this post at that.
Next post will be about my trip to Yunnan!