Doorstep To The Moon 2


At this point I’m sure my readers are a bit confused…didn’t we just visit the Kashgar Sunday Market? The market one tourist remarked that, “The Sunday Market is fresh and vital, with a kaleidoscope of colours. There is a wonderful profusion of ethnicities”. And of which another tourist said is “…vibrant, pulsing, almost unbearably joyous,” and which caused a third tourist to admit “I want to have an orgasm over the whole world,” That Kashgar Sunday Market? Well, yes and no.

Kashgar is still very much a market town where people from the region (China and other bordering countries) come to meet and trade, just as they have ever since the first Silk Road caravan stopped there to pause between the scorching Taklamakan desert and icy Himalaya mountain ranges. One of the wonderful and stunning qualities of Kashgar is that these markets retain much of the feel of those ancient times — open and free wheeling where the communication between the buyer and the seller is almost as important as the transfer of goods. As with many of the traditional markets in large European cities, the primary market has been consolidated into a permanent structure. In the case of Kashgar, these permanent structures house a Livestock Market (outside of town for the ease of transporting animals in and out of the market), and a Market for everything else in the center of the city. The main Market is open every day, but the Livestock Market is open only on Sunday, and we have already visited that market. This is where the confusion might start because what the “Kashgar Sunday Market” really refers to is both markets PLUS the component that traders who don’t have a permanent stall in the central market structure also come into Kashgar on Sunday to hawk their goods, and they line the boulevard in front of the central market buildings for almost a mile, donkey cart by donkey cart laden with the goods they’ve brought from their homes.

This extended market (which also takes place on a smaller scale outside the walls of the Livestock Market) was unknown to us until Hans abruptly stopped, reversed, poked forward then stopped the car in the middle of a wide street and uttered a few sharp oaths in Mandarin.

“We will have to walk the rest of the way,” Lily gently explained to us in English. Outside a uniformed policeman waved at our and other cars and buses, to back up while at the same time allowing a donkey cart or motorcycle cart past.

We got out of the car and walked past the police blockade and began strolling down a long straight wide street lined with activity. I expected the “official Market” to appear within a block or two, but after a few minutes I realized, “this IS the Market.”


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