Beneath this bowl of stars...

toddler activites, food, photos, and other orbital occurrences

Just when I thought being in China was alone enough to claim I was living in the world's largest dollar store (because stuff is so cheap and everywhere from shops to little markets to backs of bikes to blankets on the sidewalk), I actually found a building, or really about half a dozen buildings all seeming to fight for the title of largest junk store. These markets make Canal Street or the shops on Broadway and 28th in NYC look like those overpriced carts at the tourist mall. I can't decide if I am in heaven for all of the fun cheap crap I can buy or sick b/c of all the waste and the price that we pay for a lot of this crap back at home.
There is really no way to describe these markets without actually being there. I tried to take some pictures but they just cannot convey the scene at all. There are 100s if not thousands of these little booths in these markets. Most of the market buildings have 6 floors. Sometimes the floors lean toward a specific theme like tights/socks/underwear othertimes its just a menagerie of junk. In some areas the isles are so small and so crowded and there is just stuff falling off of people's booths onto the ground getting squished. You can really find just about anything here and depending on the quantity that you want, you can get it for less then 25cents. Here is just a tiny TINY list of items I saw today (usually each stall sells one thing or type of thing): pens, tape, craft supplies, cell phone accessories, jewelry, towels, sheets, baskets, stickers, toys, masks, wigs, nail polish, key chains, silk flowers, plastic bags, clocks, handbags, watches, fabric, lace, ribbon, wrapping paper, stuffed animals, wooden toys, plastic toys, party supplies, chinese new year decor, christmas decor, beads, buttons, buckles, zippers, needle point/cross stitch, yarn, hooks, clothespins, hangers, sponges, bad art, creepy dolls, hello kitty, scarves, pajamas, etc. When I was packing to come here I made sure to bring my box of craft supplies like pipe cleaners, construction paper, pompoms, felt and glue sticks, b/c I thought it would be impossible to find without a Michaels or ACMoore around the corner.... but no. There is a whole building full of just these items!
The isle in this photo was on the edge so it was not as crowded as most.

This guy just sold rubber bands!
This is the view looking down to the ground floor of the mall that specialized in fabric notions like ribbon, zippers, buttons, etc.

Here are the items I purchased today:
Felt: 8rmb per meter
Pink socks for Amber: 6rmb per pair
Magic wand for Amber: 5rmb
Thick socks for Amber: 10rmb for 5 pair
Leggings for me: 40rmb each (i think i paid way too much for these)

DIY felt food kits: 5rmb each!!!!