Most places I’ve been around the world have at least one walking street with lots of shopping and food, Beijing is no different and it is very close to our hostel. After a day of sightseeing with the group, some of us went for a stroll to find the walking street and explore a little bit more of Beijing. What we found was awesome.
From the little restaurant we ate a delicious dinner we walked up a few block to find St. Joseph’s, a catholic cathedral in Beijing originally built in 1655 but destroyed over and over again then finally restored in 1904 and then closed in 1966. This is a happening place. Each night in the plaza in front of the church hundreds of people gather to dance. They don’t do any spectacular dances but a very simple line dance over and over and over again to every song that’s played.
As we watched one of the old men came up and started to teach us the dance. I tried and got it down very slowly. It would have taken much more practice to do it at the pace they do it even though it’s slow.
Down Wangfujing Dajie a little further is the walking street where there is no vehicle traffic just pedestrians. It’s a fun street and reminds me a bit of Times Square on a smaller scale because of the lights and signs. Thankfully, there weren’t as many people as Times Square. Unfortunately, most of the shops and food are Times Square prices.
Off of this street is a little alley we found with food vendors. What were they selling? Nothing much, just scorpions, starfish, cicadas, sea horses, silk worm pupae and more. Its like we were on the set of a Bizarre Foods episode. I half expected to see Andrew Zimmern there sampling the morsels. We went back another night to test these delicacies and tried scorpion. It didn’t taste like anything except the seasoning and it was really, really crunchy.
Near the walking street is the Beijing Night Market, a long section of food vendor booths like you might see at a state fair selling everything from noodles and dumplings to scorpions, cat and ostrich. We had dinner there another night.