Interesting doesn't begin to describe it. I'm going to give a fair warning: there may be a few pictures that will make you squeamish. But I encourage you to look anyway. It's just life in this area. Step outside your comfort zone for a moment and walk with me through this city. I promise it will be entertaining...
When we first started walking through this area, it's not what I expected. This reminded me a bit of home with all the crazy Christmas shopping.
Xinhua Bookstore is a chain here in China. It's also where Zoe was found. This is not the exact same bookstore where she was found as we didn't get to visit her home town, but at least we have a picture of the sign.
And then you literally turn a corner and enter the "old city."
The first two streets were basically pet stores selling all kinds of animals and animal food. These were not for eating. Love that I have to clarify that.
Then we entered the spice street.
I guess things get a little spicy on spice street because this was one of the first things we saw on that street.
This was a little peek down an alley behind the stores to the apartments.
Spices galore! It actually smelled really good on this street. That's one thing that will not come across on a blog is the smell. In most places it's a mixture of cigarette smoke, pollution, and sewage. This was a pleasant escape for our noses.
I just had to post this picture. We're always told Zoe is "spicy girl" because she's from Hunan, and in the last blog I posted her "spicy" face. Looks very similar to this spicy girl on spice street...
And then we took a left onto, well, the creepy crawling street. Here are some small live scorpions for sale.
And the larger live scorpions...
Here are some kind of live baby animals being plucked out of sawdust with chopsticks. I'm really not sure what they do with these but we're not on the pet street any more.
One of my sweet friends asked about how they sterilize things. I had to giggle. Friends, this is just how it's done here. Take a good look at this fine chopping station and surrounding area. And I'm not sure how many days they let the meat sit out on the counter.
A tub of pig ears and legs out for delivery.
We walked into the biggest market in the area. Eriek noticed that it was "take your baby to work day" in produce. I hope she doesn't have the split pants on.
This isn't Texas style chicken fingers people. This here is the real deal.
Here are the somewhat fresh fish.
And here are the fresher fresh fish, except for the dead one hanging off the side.
In case you're not quite sure what you're looking at, hanging in the middle are pig ears and underneath those are pig legs. The rest is, well, it's the rest.
Sometimes they run out of room in the market, so they just hang the meat on the power lines outside.
I was still having flashes of scorpions and pig ears in my mind, when we took a peaceful stroll down this canal. Such a completely different place.
We also saw this festive little theater on the water.
I've been to China 6 times sprinkled over the last 16 years, and I'm still processing how vastly different it is from the world I'm used to.
Switching gears now because tomorrow is our Consulate appointment, where Zoe becomes an official member of our family! I just love how God can take two totally different worlds and smash them together to make a family that fits together so beautifully.