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The bust maker, Chengdu, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

Texas Mike here, back to round up the top ten street vendor list as we’ve closed our China tour and are out to conquer New Zealand. I’m just hoping the kiwi goods are as entertaining. We shall see. Anyway, on with the countdown… for more visuals, check out the vendor set of pictures on flickr.

No. 5: “Hello banana”
There are many a fruit vendor throughout China. I personally love the ones who carry their products in two buckets or baskets, balanced on either side of a long bamboo pole perched atop the shoulders.
Bananas are a staple in high traffic areas, and it’s not because they are Chinese delicacy. Quite the opposite – these folks know their market. Tourists like the ready-to-go, easily peeled treat. So, when westerners like us get within earshot, we’re serenaded by a chorus
of “hello banana.” Over and over and over. Someone even made a T-shirt in Yangshuo to commemorate the phenom.

No. 4: Pork on a hook
What can be more convenient than a road-side bicycle cart featuring all your favorites in fresh meat? One hook has pork, and the next… who knows. Whatever it was, didn’t deter the neighborhood dogs from roaming about, picking up scraps. We stopped by one such
vendor outside Huanglongxi, en route to our delicious home cooked pork meal with a local farmer family. Must admit, super tasty cooked several different ways.

No. 3: The Chairman Mao table
If you love Chairman Mao, this is the place for you. Anything and everything, featuring your favorite dictator and mine. Lighters, wallets, watches, alarm clocks, t-shirts, cards, matches, bags – even socks. Soak up his cult of personality on something mass produced in a factory or sweatshop! Give you very good
price. You must not resist – no, seriously, do not resist.

No. 2: Crawlies in a bucket
You never thought to eat it, but these street vendors have it. Turtles. Snakes. Catfish. Other fish. Frogs. Prawns. All alive and super fresh. Your choice. The best selection has been at the villager market in Huanglonxi and more recently at Xiamen, featuring a
seafood specialty including sting rays, eels, crabs and mussels. Hong Kong has a bit of everything too, including the evidently rare (I have to admit I have no idea what it is) abalone. If it jumps out of the bucket before you buy, you get it free. Ok, maybe not.

No. 2a: Turtles on a string
This turtle vendor in ChengDu was on the move, simply tying her prized shelled creatures together like a Horton mobile – two and three high. We were tempted… not.

and, the vendor you’ve all been waiting for…

No. 1: The bust maker
Simply pose for this artist, and he’ll make your likeness in 3-D out of clay! That’s right, this street scuplter in ChengDu had us mesmerized. This is more than a characature (sp?) – it’s you starring in a masterpiece to which may end up in some museum thousands of years from now! Sadly, we passed on the double bust – “Les Erin et Michael,” but maybe next time. Coming soon to a tourist strip in the U.S., guaranteed. Perhaps this is my ticket to the big time in Dallas’ West End.

Hope everyone is well.

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