I love an octogenarian with attitude. I spied her one Sunday in Kaili Old Street, with her hair and specs rather eccentrically arranged. She was embroidering herself a new belt.
Sunday is no day of rest in China. In fact, it’s often the busiest day of the week as families, groups of friends and workers head for the shops on their one and only day off. Kali, in Guizhou Province, is no exception as the Sunday Market gets into full swing, starting in the old part of town and spreading like topsy into the surrounding streets.
|Kaili Sunday Market|
Local Miao and Dong women wear ‘everyday’ dress but still look so elegant in their traditional hairstyles as they shop for embroidery patterns.
Sunday is also when the street barbers do their best business – a dollar a cut.
Not everyone is happy about having a hair cut.
The chicken vendors gamble at cards until the last live chicken is sold.
And the vegetable sellers bring home-grown roots, herbs and greens. At the end of the day they loop their wire baskets over each end of a bamboo pole and carry them home.
The la jiao guys pound dried chilies into powder. They’re completely immune to the chili vapours and smells in the air, but as soon as I enter I’m coughing and wheezing and my eyes start to stream hot tears. I buy a bag to take home.
The spoon guy sells his hand-carved spoons from a sack on the ground. Eighty cents each.
And the shoe repair lady sets up on Sundays in an alley off the main street. Her shop unfolds from a cupboard and a table to reveal a sewing machine and a hundred little tools for fixing leather. Nothing is considered too worn or too old to be resurrected by her clever hands.
Sunday is street life. Find yourself a corner in the market and watch it all unfold.