“Temple fairs” (庙会) abound during Spring Festival in China. Dìtán Park (地坛公园) has Beijing’s biggest (the 地坛庙会) and we hit it on the last day of the fair. As you’ll see in the photos, it was packed, sprawling, happy, controlled chaos, with just as much noise as colour. The five of us (Jessica and I, 8-month-old Lilia, and my parents) had a blast, but I wouldn’t recommended it for people who easily suffer from sensory overload!
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We dared to travel during chūnyùn (春运), the Chinese New Year travel season. This was the Beijing train station.
This is the line-up to get on the subway. We walked two blocks to the next station where there were no crowds.
Muslims make China taste better. The road leading to the park entrance was lined with people, mostly Muslim minorities, selling snacks.
In we go!
In we go!
There’s a lot of people.
Mom dives into the ‘people mountain people sea’ (人山人海 rénshānrénhǎi) and emerges victorious with lunch – BBQ’d sheep and chicken.
Yum! We were starving.
But we’re still hungry… what to eat?
There’s plenty to choose from, most of it on a stick.
Meat on a stick.
Something looks suspicious.
Cicadas, silk worm chrysalis (蚕蛹), and scorpion on a stick! I’ve seen the silk worms served in restaurants and sidewalk BBQ near our apartment, but I’m pretty sure the scorpions are just for the tourists (surely…?). For more on the silk worms: http://chinahopelive.net/2010/11/09/%e8%9a%95%e8%9b%b9
Scorpions and cicadas.
Cicadas, silk worm chrysalis (蚕蛹), and scorpion. For more on the silk worms: http://chinahopelive.net/2010/11/09/%e8%9a%95%e8%9b%b9
Grasshoppers(?) on a stick!
Scorpions on a stick. My students tell me that in certain provinces, this isn’t tourist food; locals do eat it.
Even POO-ON-A-STICK! This was a surprisingly popular item, and it was funny to hear the guys hawking them: “大便大便大便！” “Dàbiàn dàbiàn dàbiàn!” (Poo! Poo! Poo!)
Thankfully, Jessica and I can read enough to locate the dumplings and popcorn chicken.
Mom decided she was up for an adventure…
So she went for a ride in one of these.
There was music and everything.
Lilia was doing great but babies have to eat, too!
Believe it or not, we found some open space.
While Lilia ate her lunch, mom took a picture of this guy playing flutes with his nostrils.
Ditan as originally Beijing’s “Temple of Earth.”
People still like to do the incense thing, though I wonder if it has more to do with feeling really Chinese than any actual firmly held spiritual beliefs.
Big restaurant outside the park.
2010 Feb. 20