I am so excited every time I get to post more China pictures! I had way too much fun on this trip, way too much fun taking these pictures, and I’m way too obsessed with going back.
Though maybe other Asian countries are cooler and I just wouldn’t know it because I’ve never been anywhere else in that continent? Dunno, don’t care. I’ll find out someday.
These are still photos from my first day in Beijing. After walking around exploring for about 8 hours around the rest of the city, my little footsies were hurting me, but a girl I met in London had told me that I absolutely had to see this night market.
To get there I walked down some kind of main shopping avenue that reminded me a little bit of Times Square with all the lights and shops and all the people! Everywhere I went in China, the majority of the tourists I saw seemed to be from other parts of China.
After walking through blocks of luxury shops, Louis Vuitton and Prada and Gucci, you turn off the main street onto a little side alley — filled with soooooo many people and sooooooo much gross food!
When I had told the girls at my hostel where I was going they warned me not to eat anything at the market.
Then I had out my map and a woman stopped me on the street. She asked if I was lost and needed help. She was being nice but what she REALLY wanted was to practice her English. Seeing as how she’s apparently the only person in all of China that speaks the language, I was happy to oblige.
She also told me not to eat anything at the market.
I talked to some other tourists that were some of the only other Westerners I saw there and they also mentioned that everything they’d read online said not to eat any of the food.
But my friend in London just said to stay away from raw vegetables. So I decided to be brave and try a few things.
I started off easy, buying some coconut water from this man. Because I love coconut water and because I loved his happy smile. Shame I totally overexposed this shot. He didn’t speak any English but he got really excited when I wanted to buy his coconut water and even more pumped when I asked him if I could take his picture. Then when I showed it to him he about blew a gasket. We were insta-BFF’s. He gave me a hug goodbye. Heart.
Sadly, I couldn’t work up the courage to go for any live insects or raw looking seafood. I got all up on my high horse in Tallinn, thinking what a brave eater I’d be…and ordered Pig’s Ears…and HATED them. Took one bite and threw the entire plate away. What a waste of food and money!
So I’ve stopped overestimating my Anthony Bourdaine skills and I’ll stick to the more normal menu items from now on.
Candy! Crazy Chinese candy! There were tons of these stores all around near the market and they were massive. And filled with like three vegetables, a few noodle aisles and then candy, candy and more candy. General’s Mao’s people are big on the sweets.
This was one of the things I did eat. Banana dumplings aaaaaand…something really gross. Actually the banana dumplings were not good either. I threw those away too.
As I was walking around taking all these pictures of Chinese people and the things they eat, Chinese people were walking around taking pictures of me taking pictures of the things they eat. If they had Facebook over there, I’d wonder how many people’s albums I’d be showing up in! I tried to smile nicely for their photos
Also — foot care places everywhere! Didn’t end up having time to go get a massage, sadly.
Caught lots of the vendors digging in to their own food. I guess that’s a sign it must be good? Or that it was dinner time at 11pm?
Some of the stuff was totally unidentifiable to me.
Does anyone know what’s in the photo below? I saw it everywhere!
These, I can identify, though I don’t know if you want me to…they’re pigeons. Ew. Flying-rat-kabobs. I’m sure they taste just like chicken, but I can’t turn the picky eater in me off, sorry guys.
I was also curious as to what that sort of leathery looking fish back there was? It was another dish I saw plenty of Chinese digging into.
When I saw this sign it made me giggle a bit. I have a whole iPhone album of restaurant translations that are ridiculous and amazing. I’ll do separate post on those so you can fully enjoy and appreciate them all.
The bugs were a popular menu item. I saw many people eating these. The Chinese would KILL it on Fear Factor. I wonder why more of them don’t audition for the show. All the Western contestants would be ew-ing and vomiting and choking and they’d just be like “What? WHAT? I had scorpions for brunch yesterday. It ain’t no thing!”
After the night market I wanted to go back to the hostel. I was beyond exhausted, jet lag was killing me. I knew I was within walking distance but I got really lost. I ended up walking another hour and a half even though it probably should’ve been about 20 minutes to the hostel. Nobody could understand me pointing at the map and trying to get them to show me where we were so I could get started in the right direction!
Since that was my first day, and the culture is so totally foreign, I really did not have a good sense of whether or not I should’ve been scared walking around at night. It FELT safe. But I know that sometimes in a different culture, our warning bells aren’t triggered because the signals are different.
Anyways, I did finally make it back safe and sound, but the whole day had been such an adventure! Just thinking about it gives me a little travel high. Must. Go. Back.
ETA: Check out this video of some of the ALIVE bugs that people were eating.