Friday, October 21, 2011

Kashgar - The Sunday Bazaar #2

Ok, so I spent longer than expected writing that lost post and missed the dormitory’s allotted hot water time to shower so I just had a super cold freezing totally bracing insanely intense shower experience that SERIOUSLY WOKE ME UP!!!



Ok. I’m back. This time with tea and peanut butter and warm socks and a dressing gown. I’m no fool, I ain’t gonna catch no cold. Everybody knows a peanut butter sandwich is the best way to avoid colds.

I digress, again.

I promise this post is going to be about the Sunday Bazaar at Kashgar. To prove it, I shall begin with my favourite pictures from that day. 

We arrived in the early morning when the Kashgarians were still setting up and the light was still diagonally streaming through the high windows in an incredibly poetic fashion.

The materials were truly incredible.

Once outside the main market complex, the locals really came out in all their trade and trading glory.
The first thing you realise about these markets, is that there are in fact two different sections of markets with two very different demographics. The first is the tourist/indoor section, and the second is the local/outdoor section. For a market in China, normally this would mean that the indoor section is shit and the outdoor section is really great, but actually this time both areas were as good as each other. I bought some truly lovely gifts in the indoor section, and met some interesting people too. I took great photos and had a one kuai (less than twenty Aussie cents) icecream in the outside section though, so I think it’s an even contest. But I am really proud of a lot of these photos, and I want to show you most of what I took that day, so the blog is split in two! (Three, if you include that first accidental rambling… lol.) This section is the indoor/tourist bit, and the second is (duh) the outside/local stuff.

To begin with - pomegranites! Everywhere! There were pomegranites and pomegranite juice! Everywhere!
They have the most amazing colour.

 Just a normal early morning Sunday at the bazaar. So many hats for sale.
Kashgar really is a hat-wearing place. All the minorities have their own individual kind of traditional hat.

 The local women shopped in the material aisles of the inside section too, buying their religious coverings and headwear. I have said before, that the women in Kashgar appeared to me to be of all different degrees of Islam. Some wore no hear coverings at all, and other wore the complete burqa, and then there was everything in between. It sure made for an interesting mix.

I'm just putting this one here as an example of strange tastes. A lime green chiffon bed cover. Kashgar, you can do better.

This was the bathroom. I KNOW, RIGHT!?!? And they make you pay for it!!! Big lols.

Just one of the many many many carpet shops. Most of them were prayer rugs and truly beautiful. Of course I bought one! It's on my floor right now.

There were also massive aisles full of super tacky hair accessories. I bought these two (blue and red) velvet scrunchies because I genuinely believe that not only scrunchies, but also velvet, are making a serious comeback. The rest of the hair stuff was seriously bad though. The aisles seemed so out of place and strange in Kashgar, especially seeing as how most of the women cover their hair. Baffling. Also amusing.

We still have no idea what this is supposed to be for or what animal's hoof that is.

As you stroll from aisle to aisle in this crazy labyrinth, you have to listen for the “BUSH BUSH!” call, which in Uyghur means “COMING THROUGH!” or you’ll get runover by any manner of vehicle, be it scooter or truck or donkey. There are always things hanging overhead that, as a tall person, you have to look out for – but if you don’t watch where you walk there are thousands of things you could trip on! Flexibility is a must, or you won’t be able to weave your way through the squeezing crowds. There is a constant hum of conversation you can’t understand (they don’t speak mandarin) and the smell of every kind of spice imaginable fills the air. Cinnamon seemed to ingrain itself in my memory, but I do remember a sneezing fit after walking past a stall full of chillies. The specialties of this area are their knives, materials, and woodwork. The only picture I have of the woodwork has my mum’s Christmas present in it, so I can’t post it or I’ll ruin her surprise! Believe me, it’s wonderful. All the stall holders are really friendly, and they couldn’t believe we were from Australia. They also couldn’t believe that a young woman and man were travelling together but not married.

Theirs is a very conservative culture, but I didn’t ever cover my hair and rarely got any dirty glances. I was willing to go on this trip alone, and I thought it might be a little dangerous as a single white female, and I am definitely glad my friend and classmate Tom was happy to come with me. There were a couple of situations where I know for sure I would have been uncomfortable without another person, particularly male, there with me. I never saw another female traveler by herself (I only saw two others in the whole city) and I wouldn’t recommend it. Having said that, every single Kashgarian I actually had a conversation with was really nice.

Just one close-up example of the incredible silks you can buy by the meter. I was so tempted!

They had a super curtains section, too. I love this photo.


This is the material I bought to make a scarf for my grandma's christmas present. Sorry to ruin the surprise, Tutu, but I just had to show everyone how beautiful it is!!!

I suppose the final thing I want to say about this part of the market, is that it was really unexpected, in a lovely way. For a country with such barren landscapes, such modest dress codes and such down-to-earth people, they sure love their crazy colours! The curtains and bedspreads and jewellery and material was so totally over-the-top I felt like I could have been in a bollywood film. It was a lovely surprise to see such zany vibrance!

I think the next post is a little more like what you would expect. Well, it was a lot more like what I expected. Lol.

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