Beijing has “wholesale markets” where stalls filled with infinite varieties of, well, anything. Our local “pifa” has detergent and fake designer jeans and squash racquets and mp3 players (or mp4 players, for that matter). Kashgar’s Bazaar reaches its full form only on Sundays. Jess and I arrived early, around 10:30am.
[Time, it is worth noting, is a bit odd in Xinjiang and especially in Kashgar. All of China exists in one time zone — BEIJING TIME — despite the fact that Kashgar is easily two time zones over (think Chicago and LA both being on Central). Our guide, Mohammed Ali (not that one, obviously, it is one of the most common names on earth) constantly would refer to “Uighyur time” as opposed to “Beijing time.” All times for hotels and stores and flights are posted in Beijing time but moved to accommodate the pesky slow rotation of the earth. For example a quickie mart near our hotel in Kashgar opened at 8am and closed at 1:30am. Our group tended to eat lunch sometime in the middle of the afternoon Beijing time which meant finishing lunch around 5:30pm, which was just a bit off-putting.]
Originally the bazaar had animals and spices and all manner of goods being sold in one place. The animals market was moved to a more remote location after the bazaar was given a new cement floor.
There seemed to be some less than official financial transactions going on at the bazaar. The Chinese love of bureaucracy and receipts knows few bounds. But every trader that brought in animals stopped by the policewoman by the gate to hand off some cash. Just one yuan per sheep (I wasn’t able to see any cattle go through), so this isn’t high level corruption but interesting nonetheless.