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The flea markets in Beijing

Panjiayuan Antiques and Flea Market, or the “dirt market,” is the biggest antique and flea market in Beijing today. It had three sections—small booth, the curio street and the open air market of second-hand furniture Panjiayuan is a relatively regular market. Two miles away to its east is the Shuanglong Flea Market, a much irregular one. Here you don’t have to buy something, but I bet you will something you never expect to see elsewhere. The sellers here usually charge exorbitant prices and the buyers will bargain several times. You must be able to tell the real from the fake antiques and make bargains at half price. The traditional bargaining method can be used here to utter most extent. In midnight, tile sellers will ride small tricycles to the Shuanglong market, carrying goods in woven bags on the back or in hand. They are the early birds. The market opens at six am, but some deals are made much earlier in front of the gate. When the gate opens at six, sellers will flood into the market. Vying for the advantageous place. The lot under the electric light poles is their favorable strongholds. Then they will unfold some newspaper or ols cloth to display their goods. The buyers judge the articles under the dim flashlight by eyesight and experience. At seven or eight am, good items are already sold out.

The Shuanglong Market is very prosperous. Its goods range from age-old reading lamps from early Republic of China(1911-1949), manual phonographs, German cameras made in the 1920s, and American electric fans made in the 1930s to the washed out military transmitter-receivers, Quotations from chairman Mao Tse-tung, and badges, etc. The trade volume could be several jiao to several thousand yuan. Sometimes, the sellers are unware of the real value articles ar a much lower price. The flea markets in the Dazhong Temple in Haidian District, Baoguo Temple in Xuanwu District and the Yuan Road are relatively smaller ones.

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