Not sure if its been mentioned yet but I've been looking for various ways to access the market and get apps. So far, I've downloaded slideme and andapp but I find those waaaaay too slow! Jeez, as in terribly slow with frequent crashes!!! And some apps are still lacking from even all those alternative markets put together.
There's also the sneaky way of downloading the apk but that's really wrong so I wouldn't do it if I were you. Plus, you run the risk of getting a buggy old version of the app you want. Or worse, a virus and brick whatever you used to download.
So far, android market is still the best and quickest. However, the only other option would be to root the phone and install an app that lets me trick the phone into thinking I have a market non-restricted sim. And I really don't want to do that.
However, there is a way, but it needs some added steps: namely the procurement of a US/Sing/HK sim or any other sim from non-restricted countries. Luckily, I had some sims lying around from my travels years before (doesn't have to be current or even activated as long as its from a non-restricted region). I have a star hub sim from singapore and a t-mobile sim. I tried out the t-mobile one and it works! I have access and was able to download paid apps. The top paid category is missing but you can search the app you want or check out the "just in" category and find paid apps there.
So far, this is the least intrusive way I've found to access paid apps. Now, if you're from a restricted country, I'm sure it wouldn't be so hard to get your hands on a non-restricted sim. Like I said, even old ones work (my tmobile is from 4 years ago). Try ebay or amazon or even just try asking a foreign friend if he has a sim lying around from back home. Just borrow it, download your apps and give it back.
You will need to setup a google account with your credit card, tho. But once done, buying is very very easy and instantaneous.
That said, I've got nothing to be envious about anymore. Those google dudes can take their sweet time. haha