Monday, September 17, 2007

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Went to Yiwu last weekend with Jodi, Charlotte and some of Jodi's friends. Impressions: scenic train station located in the hills outside the city; very clean, well-organized and moneyed city; the new wholesale market is full of low-quality mass-produced goods marketed at developing countries, only available for wholesale; and lots of authentic Middle Eastern (not Xinjiang) restaurants and Chinese-looking women wearing head scarves. When looking for dinner, we asked the lady outside the Yiwu Market from whom I bought a city map what the local specialty was: she said, KFC. The others thought this was hilarious, but I think she was just under the very common -- outside of Shanghai -- false(!) impression that foreigners only eat western food. We stayed at a very impressive Motel 168, next to a "Caucasus Restaurant" and a hotel with a Russian name. Pictures forthcoming. (UPDATE: Pics on Flickr.)

Next time, if there is a next time, we will go to the old 中国小商品城 wholesale market because I suspect it will have a little more "flavor". Then we will walk around the city for a bit and eat dinner at a Middle Eastern place, followed by lots of kebabs at the night market.

We applied for Charlotte's 通行证 to exit the country today, which was cause for a surprise because the papers were actually processed at the Chinese side of the Immigration Bureau. So she will exit the country as a Chinese and re-enter as an American.

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