WARNING!!! GRUESOME PHOTOS
Did I not warn you? Seriously, don't look below if you don't want to see bloody, dead, gutted fish and animals. Or even animals that are still alive waiting to be killed and eaten. It's awful, so just don't scroll down.
I've put this off long enough. I've debated whether or not I wanted to post these at all.
The pigs were already dead, not sure where they killed them, but the head was already separated. The frogs were still alive, thrown in a basket, just waiting. Waiting to be killed. Not sure how they kill them. Don't really want to know. The fish too, were thrown into a water tank, filled to the brim. The fish, not the water. No care in the world of whether they had enough room in the tank. They all just kind of floated, well not floated, they all just kind of layed on top of one another in the water tank. There was no extra space in most of the tanks. There were fish that were already dead, floating next to the fish that were alive. Just a mixture of dead and alive fish. I asked our tour guide why some of the fish were floating upside down, some of them still slowly flapping their fins. They looked alive, and by alive, I mean moving. But they were moments away from death. While alive, their bodies were already dead, allowing them to float upside down. When fish get sick or die, they lose the ability to maintain the air in their bodies. Thus, if there is too much air in its guts, they'll get top heavy and roll over. They call it, 'belly up'.
We had a little bit of extra time out of our tour. On our way to the car, our tour guide asked if we wanted to check out the market. I never say no to a new place. We walked in, and there were fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other products. We walked past two escalators, one coming down and another going up. At the top, they had a TON of sausage hanging from the ceiling. It looked pretty normal, and innocent. In the back, they had the fish, toads, brains, etc. Yup...normal. They mostly had all the fish back there. It looked like a normal market that you would see in most countries. Even Kroger has a bunch of dead fish laying in ice in the back of their stores. I mean, geez, they even have lobster in water tanks, ready to be bought and killed. I remember spending most of my time at Kroger as a child, starring into the lobster tanks while my mom grocery shopped.
So what do I do next? I asked to go upstairs! What was upstairs? I wanted to see it all. I had one day to be in China, so I didn't want to miss anything.
There was so much blood. Or, I mean lack of blood. There was barely any blood. It was all meat; fresh, red meat. Everywhere. Pale, pink, red flesh...flesh. I feel like there should have been more blood. It was cold, maybe because it was just the temperature outside. It was a good 50 degree Fahrenheit, a good temperature of an area after you leave the walk-in freezer open. The smell, it smelled cold. It smelled like a walk-in freezer. Only worse. So a walk-in freezer with flesh. And blood. It kind of smelled like a fish market, only it wasn't fish, it was meat, red meat. Just sitting out there in the open. All I remember was that it was cold, and I was starting to lose my balance because I was dizzy. I didn't feel nauseous, or sick, but I was for sure dizzy.
I walked around fascinated at how much meat there was. What was the sanitation like? Would I get sick if I ate that? Do I have to cook all of this before I eat it? Why aren't these refrigerated? Why do they eat so much meat? Where do they kill these animals? How do they get the dead animals here? Does the meat touch other things on its way here? Does it touch the surface of the vehicle it's coming in? If this meat isn't refrigerated, why do I have to throw my meat at home away after I accidentally leave it sitting on the counter for like two hours? Why aren't there more bugs?
I was walking around taking pictures, and this big Chinese man is standing right behind my left shoulder with his head over my shoulder, smiling. I knew he was right there next to my head, but I could only feel his presence. If I turned my head to look at him, my face would touch his. I really didn't want that to happen. So I just stood there with his face next to mine, feeling his presence. He was looking at my phone over my shoulder, as I was taking the pictures. He was hopping from one place to another, excited to see me taking pictures of the meat market. I just continued on, and he went back to his work. Other people were excited too. The man shaving the pig's head was also extremely kind. I was trying to take candid photos of him shaving the head, but he leaded away, trying to showcase the pig's head. He then set the head on the counter, propped it up, and moved out of the camera's view and smiled at me. Everyone was very welcoming, and excited to see me taking pictures. Usually when I go places, I get locals asking me for money to take pictures, with my own camera! Don't ever take pictures of someone's monkey, they want money. Don't take pictures with merchandise in Easter Island, they want $7 for a photo you take with their merchandise! Not here, they will set the meat up for its photo debut. They were all very nice, and welcoming.
I didn't buy anything, and I didn't eat anything. I took pictures, got very dizzy, and left to get the much needed fresh air. But, I will always remember the weird things I saw that day, and the very nice, kind, smiling people who worked there.