We knew that we were being laughed at. Jen and I were walking through the Zhu Hai ferry station with our bags full of Chinese goodies on the way home after a productive day of shopping. Jen’s ‘spidey sense’ was on fire as she led us to a new area where we discovered Dude #1’s shop. Essentially, Dude is any Chinese vendor who sells us great things. He’s Dude #1 because so far, he has sold us the best stuff without the Western price tag.
I have heard that many Chinese people in the countryside throw out what is now considered antiques. Some beautiful pieces of history are just tossed to the roadside. Even today, it killed us to see beautiful, old doors just lying around outside. Go into any Pottery Barn and the price would be astronomical. I wanted to buy them all, not to resell them but to preserve them. As I watch China tear down old buildings in the name of modernity, there is just a sense that it’s all going away.
As we waited for our food order in the terminal, this Chinese guy looked in our bags. By that I mean he peered over and stared into the bags to really get a good look at what we purchased. I am surprised he didn’t put his hand in and dig around. As his friends walked by to pick him up, they literally laughed at us and joked that it’s just a bunch of old, household things.
Part of me thinks he’s right. A portion of my purchases include six, small wooden items called moon cake molds from which people made… moon cakes. I like them because they have these neat little carvings. If I grew up with these however, I probably wouldn’t think they were antique, just outdated. It’s like phones. Some people think the rotary variety are cool and vintage, while others don’t appreciate these single use devices.
It might be asked why would I go shopping in Zhu Hai since I am getting ready to leave China in about 6 months… it seems crazy for me to buy anything. But for about seven years now, I have been searching for a Buddha and this morning, I happily found him. There he was, sitting all dusty in the back of a dark hallway, underneath a stairway. Like a beacon, I just pointed right to him and said, ‘That’s the one.’ I just felt it. He’s being delivered this Wednesday and I am SUPER excited.
So to the Chinese man in the ferry terminal, laugh away as we carry your garbage into our homes for decorative purposes. We could care less. We love our new things!