Children came to look and giggled when I drew them into my picture. It was all very sociable and drawing once again created a brief but magical bridge between us.
Then Julia and I scoffed one each. They were absolutely delicious. Julia said they were the best dumplings we had the whole trip. Mine was full of spinach, egg and herbs. Julia's was chopped greens and lots of herbs.
It was very peaceful away from the constant traffic of the modern city. There was even bird song. Then we noticed the bird's cheeping was singing a tune, one we recognised but couldn't quite identify. Rather odd. Then it swapped to another song. We realised the bird was a plastic parrot on the woman's stall! It was such a naff item, Julia had to have it and. after very unsuccessful negotiations, ended up paying daft money for it. Worth it for a funny memory though.
It is now a hostel, fitted out with bunkbeds and with stray cats wandering through. Despite huge piles of used laundry on the floor here and there, it was very easy to imagine the building's other life, with beautiful ladies peering over the balconies and clients disappearing into the many doors.