Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hongkou Street Fair

Hongkou Stadium is in Northern Shanghai, it's the place to catch soccer games and perhaps the occasional Jay Chou concert. Despite having a few foreign-language schools in the area, it's not the normal place for foreigners to be, although with the new subway line #8, it's only a 4 station commute to the centrally-located People's Square. I think the area has a lot of life, and a fun example is the street fairs located in the stadium's surroundings.

The time of these street fairs is irregular: they happen on a lot of summer weekends (and I have to admit that's when these photographs were taken), but they also happen on holidays, or occasionally for no apparent reason. While there's probably some schedule somewhere, I've asked a couple locals and they have no idea, so it seems o be a very mysterious process. Anyway, despite the lack of advance notice, these fairs can get busy with people. One of the attractions is makeshift alleyways of tents, each offering various street foods – in the foreground here is Japanese takoyaki:

And unlike with most street food in Shanghai, there's tables set up, for people to eat at:

Here's another picture of the foods. I don't want to give the impression the stalls are all Japanese style, but here it's a mish-mash of mochi-based sweets:

There's also a lot of clothes being sold, it's always low-end, everyday sort of clothes, and they never have anything nearly my size – I recently saw 6'0" listed at XXL! So I don't have exciting pictures of that. Here's a picture of some of the knick-knacks being sold. They often have an ethnic focus to their products, which I guess goes along with being operated by the ethnicity in question – I believe this would be Yi, or Dai?

And more rarely, there's things like massages, hair stylists, and product demonstrations, often operating with headset-type mics hooked up to amplifiers, and generally being annoying.

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