The university in China where I first taught built five new dorms. During construction, the nearest gate was left open for construction traffic. As soon as students started to occupy the first few dorms, a steady stream of foot traffic began to beat a path to nearby shops and restaurants.
It wasn’t long until street cart vendors spotted an opportunity and lined each side of the pathway. All of this came to a screeching halt once construction ended. The gate was padlocked shut.
Free enterprise cannot be denied, however. Someone “discovered” a loose bar in the eight foot wrought-iron fence and bent it back. The school administration chose to look the other way, and the local street cart economy was thriving once again.
I would pass this way on a daily basis, but would always cross over to the other side of the street. Not because of the crowd, however. It was the smell. I was absolutely certain there was a busted sewer pipe somewhere underneath the street carts.
One day I made this observation to one of my students. When he finally stopped laughing, he began to tell me about the Chinese delicacy, stinky tofu: