When I go to Stop & Shop, I don't know the people at the bakery, the seafood counter or the meat counter and frankly, I'm glad. I am so busy now that I often hide from people I see at the grocery store because I don't have time to stop and chat. There is always a meeting, a phone call, another errand or a time to pick up a child.
That's why the local markets in China are so intriguing. It brings us back to a time when life was simpler and less stressful. The video clip above is a glimpse into that time. There are butchers and bakers, farmers and fishermen. Everyone knows each other. I hear snippets of conversations about family members and holidays. I catch the smiles and laughs and pats on the back. Grandmothers carry grandchildren on their backs as they peruse the merchandise, while the babies' parents work. There is a sense of community in these markets that is lost in America, or maybe it never existed.
Slabs of raw meat lies unrefrigerated on tables. Flies visit every stall without prejudice. The cleanliness of the markets is probably similar to America in the 1800's. That will scare most Americans so much they will not ever visit China. Their loss. If you are brave enough for a Chinese adventure, please join me!