As I am gearing up for the improbably overambitious NaNoWriMo, I’ve had to scale back on actual thoughts about reality in Shanghai. This doesn’t mean I’ve stopped being horribly invasive with my mobile phone camera. I’m now up to 601 poorly focused pictures in my barely year-old phone. I intend to keep going until I max out the memory or until my neighbours finally snap and tell me to stop taking pictures of every bloody thing that happens on our street.
Can I show you some things?
Our street is part road, part unofficial pedestrian zone, part live-animal/vegetable/fresh noodle market.
These days, it’s hairy crab season so there are baby-bathtubs filled with live crabs everywhere. In the evenings, there are random crunchy crab parts underfoot and the occasional escaped crab scuttling to their freedom. I point them toward the river (which is far, but closer than the sea) and wish them fare-thee-well. Go crabs!
Last month was river shrimp/crawfish/giant bug season- xiao long xia in Chinese- and the baby bathtubs were filled with grey shrimp-shaped creatures, writhing away with hoses steadily pouring fresh water into their antechambers of death. In the evenings, the road was littered with tails and crunchy peelings with legs attached.
Lately, in addition to the fish and eels in the bath tubs, and the doomed chickens in cages next to metal trays covered in their unlucky brethren’s bloody feathers and entrails, and the frogs and turtles in netted buckets, there have been ducklings wandering around, loose. I don’t know if they are intended for a long-term dinner project or as pets, but they are available for purchase near the Jiadeli Supermarket on Jiashan, near Fuxing Lu.
You can also buy turtles a la carte rather than in bulk from the buckets.
And finally, because just as one ought to know where one’s meat comes from, one also ought to know where one’s mops come from.