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There are a few odd pursuits that the Chinese enjoy, not that the UK is any different... but there's one (at least) that I'll never fathom.

Over at 405 Xizang Lu is the shanghai 'flower, bird and insect' market. It's tight alleyways are packed to the hilt with shops selling all creatures great and small. If you don't like seeing stuff in cages then this isn't the place for you - there's a box for everything whether it's got wings, shells, fins, paws, feelers... or one of each.

Stacked in their thousands are squat clay pots. Inside dwells a cricket or grasshopper who, after a bit of agitation with a strip of bamboo, will show his mettle. Bring your own and you've got a match. Put 100RMB on the table and see if you can keep the shopkeeper in fish-food for another month.

Now, it's no secret how much I detest mosquitos, but I really can't find the value in gambling over two boring insects squabbling in the bottom of a small bowl.

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