Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Temple Fair

one of the Spring Festival activities here in Beijing is to visit the temple fairs. this year there were more than ten temple fairs at various parks, gardens and market places in Beijing. Robina and I visited the fair at Ditan Park with Patrick and Winnie.

even before reaching the temple fair, we had an unpleasant experience with the ubiquitous Beijing a**hole driver. since everyone expected huge crowds at such fairs, the parking was understandably atrocious. all the kerbside park spaces were full and many cars were waiting by the side for some car to pull out. the usual practise was for the waiting car to wait ahead of the outgoing car and reverse inwards.
however, this dipsh*t ducked right in and stole our rightful lot. the pseudo-parking attendant did not help to evict the lot-stealer since they collect the same amount of parking fees (an inflated RMB10!) no matter who parked at the lot!
as with any public event in Beijing/China, expect hordes of humanity! after walking a short stretch, we realised that everyone was selling the same stuff, from food, toys or game stalls. like this stall selling haw candy.
we took a closer look at this interesting stall selling a Northeast province version of mua-chi (or mochi in Taiwan).
the guy was pounding on glutinous rice with a huge wooden hammer. I did basically the same thing in the aboriginal region of Taiwan some years ago.
the gooey sticky mixture was rolled in crushed peanut. Patrick bought some to try. will ask him how it tasted.
another popular snack food was "mahua" reportedly from Tianjin (Tientsin). it looked like deepfried pretzels and must be popular since every other stall was selling it!
spotted Big Bird, Ernie, Elmo and Oscar on a stick. asked about the price and discovered that it was way too expensive at RMB25! (about S$5).
for some reason, many people were happy buying and wearing Halloween paraphernalia like pointy horns, witches hat and holding scarecrows puppets. many stalls were selling the stuff. either there was a cheap clearance sell on Halloween barang-barang, or this is a Beijing custom that we don know about (celebrate Halloween during Spring Festival???).
Patrick and a trigger-happy Winnie.
Robina and me, swearing that this will be our one and only temple fair in a long, long time...


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