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Touring The Quigping Market - Past And Present 

 

 
 
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Published:  March 07, 2012
 
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Slide 1: Touring The Quigping Market - Past And Present A rather unusual street market, the Qingping market, or "Peaceful" market, was built in 1979 with permission from the then communist government. Since then, Qingping has grown to be the largest street market in Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong, China; its average annual turnover is a full quarter of the nation's turnover, bringing over $250 million to the country's coffers each year. This unique bazaar brought feelings of excitement, amusement, disgust and fascination from various visitors. The more than 2,000 stalls sold everything - snakes, turtles, herbs, dried fruits, vegetables, jade, jewelry, spices and more - to over 60,000 customers per day. Qingping was infamous for its exotic meat market, where live animals were purchased and then dispatched for eating on the spot. A local saying was, "If it has four legs, you can eat it - unless it's a table or chair." The outbreak of the SARS virus in 2003, however, had the Chinese government calling for a radical change to the Qingping market. Ultimately, the street market had brought too much bad publicity from animal rights groups and others, becoming a huge powder keg of illness-generating potential. Plans were quickly drawn up to turn an eye sore into a great addition to the modernization of Guangzhou. Six years later, the Qingping market is still a bustling marketplace, though with a completely different character. Once an "anything goes" local market, dealing in literally everything, Qingping has become a specialty market for TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). Covering a vast area and split into two parts, the market is still a one-stop-shop, but mostly for all things medicinal. The main part of the market is the Traditional Chinese Medicine plaza. Built in a style common to the Chinese, its tall lines, shining glass, decorative roof peaks and gold lettering make the building look more like a temple than a store. Stepping through a glass door with a burnished steel frame, visitors will find themselves walking through a clean mall-like atmosphere. Instead of wet, dirty streets, buyers stroll through clean, wide aisles. Escalators take them through nine stories of Chinese pharmaceuticals. They peruse well-lit, neat shops with the wares laid out for inspection. Cantonese shopkeepers gladly show the medicines specific to the store, explaining what each does. Huge glass containers show grains, rice and various seeds for sale in one shop. In another, herbs and dried fruits can be bought to heal many illnesses. Still others hold creatures from the sea, dried and ready for ingestion or application. While those familiar with traditional Chinese medicine will find a pharmaceutical cornucopia, others may find the experience uncomfortable, though intriguing. Many herbs look like some part of an animal, while dried creatures may look like some kind of herb. What looks much like potato chips shaped like cow's tongue is actually a tuber from Guizhou - slices of tian ma pian, for improving memory and concentration. The dry, white stalk of a mushroom may
Slide 2: very well be extract of tiger's penis, the traditional Chinese medicine equivalent of Viagra. Dried seahorses, ground and turned into a tonic, will strengthen the kidneys. Buyers will find dried puffer fish, bought by the kilogram, to turn into a broth for digestion problems. Visitors from Western cultures may find the list of available ingredients somewhat disturbing, due to the fundamental differences between TCM and the western medical system. However, it's always best to remember that these traditional medications have been in use for over 1,000 years by the Chinese and many have spread across the world. For instance, ginkgo biloba has long been in use by the Chinese to cure Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration and other ailments, but is comparatively new in the Western world. Keeping an open mind will help any visitor enjoy the fantastic, unique experience of the bustling Qingping Market. Book Bejing Hotels

   
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