Meet Mani: The Pakistani Trader in Urumqi

The Bazaar in Urumqi is certainly an attraction you do not want to miss when visiting the Xinjiang capital city. Located in the Uyghur district, you feel like you are in a completely new country! The spices, the clothing, the artwork is all different from what we have experienced thus far on the silk road. The Uyghurs are a descendant of a Turkish race and thus have a very middle eastern, islamic flair. Amidst the market you are going to find huge, ornate carpets, exotic teas, Uyghur styled knives, fur coats, and a variety of dried fruits and nuts. The stand that caught my attention however had a tiny piece of black metal on it that didn’t fit any of the other stands.

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Sitting there amidst the perfumes, and furs, and herbs was a very familiar object. In the middle there was metal circle and the piece was folded like an accordion. Loving vintage cameras, I instantly inquired who the owner was. In fact the owner was neither Chinese, or Uyghur, nor did he even have a stand in this market. Mani is a Pakistani trader who goes around the region selling his exotic antique camera and film accessories. Though I don’t fully understand his tactics, I was able to grasp his task slightly as we conversed in his thickly accented english. He travels from Beijing to Urumqi collecting and then reselling these modern artifacts, finding his niche market in some of the most unexpected places and unexpected ways. It was inspiring hearing his story and seeing someone from such a different culture and different way of life who shares a similar passion to mine!

2 thoughts on “Meet Mani: The Pakistani Trader in Urumqi

  1. Olivia M Reply

    What a gift of inspiration that must have been! How cool would it have been if you could have taken one home with you.
    This story makes me imagine the Market place scene in Aladdin.

    1. Faces of Places Reply

      If it was a working one, I may have had some fun with an old film camera! I already have a few at home! And the further I go west the more I feel like I am in Aladdin!

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