Xiwu Comprehensive Timber Market

Ruins Near Old Timber Market Kids and Their Fire Old Neighbors Cinder Blocks Gunfight Part of the Wall You Tell Me Landlord Comfortable Feet

Have you ever tried to go shopping, only to find that the store had been destroyed? I’ve been searching Chongqing, working primarily off the recommendations of other makers, for good quality timber and hardwood suitable for wooden sculpture. Today I was going to the one place that I hadn’t followed up on yet, 曾家西物木材市场 . But I made one mistake; I googled it. It came up in English as the Xiwu Comprehensive Timber Market at the Xinqiao interchange of Shapingba district. It made sense that it was in close proximity to Majiayan, specializing in building materials and Shiqiaopu selling every blade that’s ever been plugged in. I boarded the train at Daxuecheng station, end of line 1, and after half an hour on the subway I surfaced at Gaomiaocun. I asked several drivers if they could take me hoping it would cost me a buck and save me an hour. The first driver said that he hadn’t heard of it. The second driver knew it but said he didn’t want to go there. He would be willing to take me to Shiqiapu instead. I should have taken him up on this, on the condition that he pay me the fare to go where he wanted to go, but I courteously declined.
The walk took longer than I thought. Judging from the GPS on my phone, I thought it would be a curvy mile and a half. In reality it was at least twice that effort zigzagging through the small motorized vehicles and tires district as well as several long stretches next to the freeway. As I approached the area Google had indicated I began to worry. Usually one would start to see the associated industries when on approach to one of these commercial centers. I should have been breathing the exhaust of heavy trucks loaded with wood, or walking past small power tool shops with circular saws and rechargable drills, or at least lots of guys with dirty boots smoking cigarettes and considering important matters. I didn’t see any of this. The closest I got was that I noticed a number of the parents using a higher quality, more articulated rattan baby basket, which had a woven seat and thinner area for the child’s legs. Linking woven baskets to other commercially available wood fibers turned out to be a loose association and when I turned the corner onto the street that had promised to my imagination stalls and stalls of timber and exotic hardwood, I saw only rubble. With all the meteorites in the news I couldn’t help but imagine that this crater was the remains of another victim caught in the cosmic deluge. Whole city blocks had been reduced to a remarkably homogeneous plain of sub-bowling ball sized landfill. Bits of porcelain toilet, concrete walls, and red brick concretions all contributed to the pile of wrecking ball decoration. Various buildings around the periphery still stood, looking to me like backgrounds from the war stricken news. To enhance this particular image, several boys ran along the second story of one of the husks, firing quite realistic pellet guns at imaginary enemies through the crumbled sections of rail. Another pair of younger boys sat by a fire burning a broom and detonating the remnants of their New Year munitions. I checked my GPS again and it had indeed taken me to the exact location shown on google maps. Just for fun, I searched for the timber market on my Chinese map program. It came up right away, but this program said it was 14.8 km away. In fact, it wasn’t at all far from the apartment I had left two and a half hours earlier. I walked a block over the rubble to the open air market and entered a cellphone shop. The woman at the counter looked at my phone and confirmed the address for me. I started to tell her what I was after, throwing out all the various words I knew for wood and wooden stuff.
“They used to be here but now had moved to… uhhhhmmm…. “
”Daxuecheng?” I finished her search.
“Yes. That’s right, daxuecheng.”
“And what are they going to put here?”
She replied, “ I don’t know. The city did it.”


1 thought on “Xiwu Comprehensive Timber Market

  1. Yes indeed, I have tried to go shopping in Beijing only to find that the store had been destroyed! I wandered through an entire shopping mall, then up and down the block, then up and down nearby blocks, suspiciously eying the remains of an entire huge city block along which some temporary storefronts had been erected, only to finally be told that the store was chāi la! (拆)

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