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Snacking on seahorses and scorpions in Beijing.

Beijing Travel Blog

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Well rested.
I woke up today in my cramped little sleeper car bed feeling like I had just spent the night at a Sofitel. I was completely out for a full eight hours, oblivious to the shake, rattle and roll of the train. I guess the secret to a good night's sleep is to go to bed thoroughly exhausted!

Steve, Lisa, and I hung out in our cabin, breakfasting on cakes and cookies until the train landed in Beijing's West Station at 7:30. I think that about a million people poured out of that train...right into the taxi line. Our Chinese roommate had warned us about a long taxi line. He really stressed it, and now we know why. The line of people waiting for taxis was at least two city blocks long -- and we couldn't even see the other end.
Our train compartment.
I have never seen anything like it.

There was no way we were going to wait in that line, so we decided to walk out to the street and take our chances there. Wow, chaos! Cars, taxis, buses, people ... it was like O'Hare Airport during the holidays, multiplied by 5, but with no rules (or sidewalks). There were taxis letting people off, but they would not accept passengers. Considering the long line of people inside, I would say that is a good rule. So we walked east, and there we found the renegade drivers who would take fares "off the meter" for an exorbitant sum. Well not really exorbitant, but pretty expensive by Beijing standards. I am all in favor of capitalism, but for some reason this really bothered me in principle. All those people in line...

So we walked on, and on. And on. It was a nice day (although the pollution is starting to settle in again) and the walking wasn't bad, though having slept two nights in the same clothes we were all longing for a shower.
Some people work for hours to get their hair to look like this!
Finally we got a ride, and soon enough were home taking hot showers and a much needed change of clothing.

I had so much writing to do (hi!) I opted to stay in to work while Lisa went down to the Temple of Heaven (Steve and I had gone there already). When Lisa came back at 4:00, I was still working away, and Steve was on Hour Three of a nap!

I really needed to get out of the apartment and see something more of Beijing (kind of sad to miss out on a travel day because I am sitting inside writing about my travels), so we decided to try Wangfujing snack street, where weird foods are sold, once again. Last time we went they were closed up. So we took a cab to the fancy shopping district of Wangfujing, then quickly found the side street with the weird foods.
Seahorse on a stick. The Minnesota State Fair has nothing on Beijing.


The first thing we saw was seahorses on a stick. Little baby-looking ones. I am a scuba diver, and let me tell you, a seahorse sighting is pretty exciting -- in 11 years of diving I have probably seen only 10 seahorses. Under water, they are treasured little creatures. On Wangfujing street, they are snacks!

Steve and Lisa were both determined to "eat some weird stuff" so of course Steve ordered up a cute baby seahorse right off the bat. He chomped it down (see video!) and said it was really good, and proclaimed he would certainly like to have a whole bowl of the tasty little guys. Seahorses: the perfect TV-watching snack food. (Well, I can tell you our refrigerator will not contain snack bags of seahorse anytime soon. No.)

From there, it was just a small step to eating scorpions, I guess.
Lisa discovers some of the food is still LIVE!
These horrifying things were still live on the stick and looking none too appetizing. The man fried them up and Steve gobbled them down, yum yum.

At this point Lisa was ready to get into the action, and I lost track of the skewers being purchased and consumed. Lisa had scorpions, Steve had squid (I thought they were chicken feet at first and nearly lost it), and I even got crazy and ordered something exotic too...a coconut! I'm so wacky!

Dessert for Lisa and Steve were some grasshoppers that looked very leggy and awful to me. ("Tastes like grass!" they said.) There is nothing that could have compelled me to put one of those things in my mouth... just one of many, many reasons you will never see me on Fear Factor!
sandra-kids says:
Yes, I would have opted for the coconut too.
Posted on: Apr 28, 2008
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Well rested.
Well rested.
Our train compartment.
Our train compartment.
Some people work for hours to get …
Some people work for hours to get…
Seahorse on a stick. The Minnesota…
Seahorse on a stick. The Minnesot…
Lisa discovers some of the food is…
Lisa discovers some of the food i…
Mmmm, scorpions.
Mmmm, scorpions.
Why sell SIX of them on a stick? W…
Why sell SIX of them on a stick? …
Steve devours a baby seahorse.
Steve devours a baby seahorse.
Steve with skewers of weirdness.
Steve with skewers of weirdness.
Lisa samples scorpions.
Lisa samples scorpions.
Hmmm, not bad...
Hmmm, not bad...
Trying to get the legs out of her …
Trying to get the legs out of her…
Scorpions, grasshoppers, grubs, an…
Scorpions, grasshoppers, grubs, a…
I sampled an exotic food too!
I sampled an exotic food too!
These were too meaty looking, so S…
These were too meaty looking, so …
Seahorse snacks. Poor little guys.
Seahorse snacks. Poor little guys.
Starfish. What must that taste lik…
Starfish. What must that taste li…
All sorts of weird foods for sale.
All sorts of weird foods for sale.
Star fish on a stick.
Star fish on a stick.
Steve and Lisa buying skewers of o…
Steve and Lisa buying skewers of …
Lisa, Steve, and some poor hapless…
Lisa, Steve, and some poor haples…
They savor the flavor of their gra…
They savor the flavor of their gr…
Thats just gross.
That's just gross.
Steve eating a seahorse on Wangfu…
Steve and Lisa snacking on grassh…
Beijing
photo by: Deats