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I decided today to go out and try and do some shopping. I want to find some fabric so I can make some wall coverings, and I'm convinced that if I just look around enough shops, I'll find one that sells what I'm looking for. I didn't know where to go, and I couldn't find anyone who spoke enough English to help me before I left.

So, I walked down the familiar main road. Trying to judge Jiangyan by this road is likely like trying to judge Edmonton by Jasper Ave, but it's the only road I've seriously been down. I once took a bike ride down a road that ran parallel, but was so intent on not getting myself killed that I didn't pay attention to what was around me.

I crossed one of the canals, watching a boat go under it, and cursed myself for not bringing my camera (sorry dad). Then, I turned right instead of going straight, because I saw something that might have been shops.

I think they were restaurants, I didn't go in any of them, but there was this little alley behind them that I decided to check out.

It was very narrow, all made out of stone, and another canal ran next to it. There were a few people on bikes, but I probably passed only three of them on my walk. There were houses on the right hand side, apartment buildings that rose about four stories. The windows and doors were all barred in, and people had some of their laundry out on the bars. They also had some hanging on the bushes that lined the canal.

I kept peaking in through gateways that looked like doors, and behind them could see a little courtyard type thing, all made of stone, where people left their bikes or their laundry, or sat and knitted. Others were tinier little alleys, probably leading back to the main road. I passed what looked like a bookstore, but I didn't go in. I was enjoying the scenery too much to want to go inside.

It was very peaceful, and very cool, and although everyone I passed stared at me, there were a lot less people, so it didn't matter as much. A little kid was playing with a toy sword, much like the ones you can buy back home in dollar stores, and his father was watching indulgently while smoking. I passed a few parked rickshaws, and a dog digging in the garbage.

I finally came out onto one of the busy streets again, and the light and noise was shocking because it seemed to come out of nowhere. I walked into the light, and two people had set up about a hundred fish bowls full of fish. There were big gold fish and little brown fish, and even a bowl full of baby turtles! I wanted to buy one, but I can't keep fish alive at all, and can't imagine where I'd put a baby turtle.

Everywhere I go in Jiangyan they're doing construction, and I keep losing major landmarks because they get torn down. Today was no exception to the construction noise and insanity, and I almost stepped into wet cement until the person selling the turtles showed me where to walk.

I didn't find fabric, but I did find some hooks that I hope will work on my walls, so I can hang *something* at least. I like my apartment, but frankly it's a big white cement box, and it's kinda boring to stare at the walls at night....


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