Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wangfujing at Night

Well, I guess this post will be a study in contrasts.

This shot is out the front door of our apartment building.The apartment building is part of a huge complex called Oriental Plaza. It includes a huge shopping mall, Hyatt hotel and offices in addition to the apartments.

The complex stretches an entire city block and city blocks in Beijing can be huge. This shot is at the west end of the mall at Wangfujing street.

It is about 1000 meters from one end of the complex to the other. Our apartment is near the letter G in the map below.

View Larger Map

Here is a picture of Margot just outside Oriental Plaza on Wangfujing Street.

On to the fun and contrasts.

About 1/2 a block up the street on the left you can see this paifang or entrance gate. The gate leads to what is know as snack street.

All ready you get a sense of the crowds. This shot is about 7:00 PM on Friday night.

A little further along the scene looks like this. Notice the picture above the lanterns of what the street looked like many years ago. Judging by the number of tour buses at the end of the street I'm guessing a huge part of the crowd is Chinese tourists but there must be some Beijingers looking for something to. A healthy sprinkling of foreign tourists, also.

Another crowd shot.

It is sort of a photographers smorgasbord. Lots of activity, bright colors, etc.

The two main attractions are souvenirs and food. The street is lined with food stalls, small restaurants and large souvenir stands.

The food on offer ranges from sweet snacks like sugar coated fruit on a stick to more exotic offerings.

Here we have coconuts ready for drinking.

Not exotic enough?

How about fried star fish?

In the case below are various seeafood and internal organs ready to be fried up.

Not exotic enough?

Take a close look at the star fish.

Those are sticks of seahorses and scorpions.

Not exotic enough?

How about what looks like cockroaches and mealy bugs?

I'll try to find out what these actually are.

Yes, I saw some being sold. Judging from the body language there seemed to be a dare among friends involved.

Here is my first attempt at posting a short video to try and help you get the full effect. Let me know if it makes the blog take a long time to load.

Not much very exotic about the souvenir shops. Just a lot of them.

Back on Wangfujing street proper you see all sorts of marketing techniques.

I'm not sure what this one was all about.

There was a tourism promotion fair going on. Lots of small booths to promote one city or another.

This one is for Los Angeles.

Oops. This one is a little out of place. There are a few stages with performers along snack street. No idea what these are about. This was at the end of a small street with a lot of small restaurants. I imagine the idea was to attract people to come down, have a look and give the hawkers a chance to talk you into sitting down for something more substantial than scorpions.

Further down Wangfujing you have a series of bronze statues just begging you to be photographed with them.

There is another more organized street food mall a couple of blocks down. This call the Dong Hua Men night market. This is more sanctioned by the city, it appears, with long line of standardized stalls.

There seems to be a little larger selection here but there is a lot of overlap in the offerings with the Snack Street area.

I think I'd trust the scorpions here before I tried them at the other place.

Along Wangfujing is a Catholic cathedral. I'm not sure if services are still held here or not.

But on Saturday night there is a large crowd of people in the plaza in front line dancing

Yes, line dancing.

I must say I didn't recognize the song.

1 comment:

  1. great snaps as always... videos loaded and played immediately. Don't think I will be taking in dares from you on the "delicacies"