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Over 10,000 housewives shuttle between Macao and Zhuhai for vegetables
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At 10:40 am, April 23, the Gongbei Customs of Zhuhai was crowded with people from Macao. Most of them were middle-aged women carrying large bags of vegetables. They had just finished shopping in Zhuhai and were waiting for customs clearance to go home.

Housewives with big and small shopping bags can be found at Zhuhai Customs every day.

Housewives with big and small shopping bags can be found at Zhuhai Customs every day.

"I'm running back to cook lunch for my husband. He will leave work at 12:00," said Mrs. Chen, a Macao resident.

In the afternoon, these housewives will come back to Zhuhai again and spend about one hour picking up supper materials, a customs officer told the Guangzhou Daily.

According to Gongbei Customs, more than 11,000 people traveled to Macao from 10:30 am to 11:30 am on April 23. Of the 11,000, about 88 percent were Macao residents and the majority was housewives.

Macao is a special administrative region in China. It lies in a peninsula and neighbors Zhuhai City of Guangdong Province. As Macao maintains its own customs territory, people have to clear customs to travel between the two regions.

Macao and Zhuhai are in close proximity to each other, but Zhuhai has much lower prices. As a result, cooking meals with vegetables from Zhuhai is becoming increasingly popular in Macao. With the deepening of the global financial crisis, more and more people are joining the traveling shopping community these days.

The housewives from Macao usually come to Zhuhai in a large number at the same time. In the past, they had to stand in a long queue in the entry and exit hall of the customs. To shorten the waiting time of passengers, Gongbei Customs now has special channels for Macao residents every day. "On workdays, three to five special channels will be enough, but at weekends, we have to open seven to ten special channels in addition to the original 22 self-service channels," said an officer of Gongbei Customs.

The fast customs clearance service attracts even more housewives from Macao. "The jellied bean curd I bought in Zhuhai was still warm when I got home in Macao," Ms. Huang told the Guangzhou Daily in Gongbei Customs.

(China.org.cn by Chen Xia, April 25, 2009)

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