David and I met in Dongmen for Valentine’s Day, to wander and enjoy fifty degree weather.
[Dongmen is a shopping street in Shenzhen, you can probably find anything in this area. People will say, ‘if you haven’t been to Dongmen you haven’t been to Shenzhen.’]
While finishing up our stroll he asked if I wanted to see the turtles. I love turtles as does he so I said, ‘ok.’
We entered a market alley.
To the right were chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, and others all awaiting slaughter for consumption. Pig carcasses hung in the background.
To the left were cages and bowls filled with tiny turtles, medium turtles and pretty jumbo turtles considering this was just a market alley and not the Galapagos.
We stopped at one market whose cages were layered with turtles climbing on top of turtles while a picture of Chairman Mao looked on from the back. Later David did tell me he spotted a Buddha and hoped this store-owner was more compassionate than others.
We noticed a few turtles’ phalanges were bloody and mangled. We chose one, ‘Stallone,’ and rescued him from the bunch, who had one of these gimpy paws. He wasn’t shy or afraid of us. We made our purchase and continued on.
While making our way back to the entrance of the alley we kept awing at the the turtle sites. Turtles were everywhere lined in these cages.
Almost to the entrance we finally saw why these turtles are kept.
A store owner was holding a cleaver cutting a turtle into fourths, shell and all. We listened to the cracking of the shell while turtle guts were spewed.
The store owner had removed some of the innards, we noticed that the turtle who was being dismembered wasn’t dead as his head was still struggling to move and look around. Two girls and a guy sat above watching this process with a bored expression.
It was the most heartbreaking bloody experience to see.
I started crying to which David said, ‘at least you know the truth.’