Mom Field Trip: Fabric Market and BaiRong World Trade Market

6/17

The kids have been trying to watch all the Star Wars movies with the W kids. And the moms (B and Ch.A and I) wanted to get together and do some more shopping around town and B can drive and speak Chinese so together with another friend, JD, we embarked on an adventure while the kids watched Star Wars at the W house.

Our first stop was the fabric market. The second stop was a place none of us had been but a friend told me that’s where I could find the little good luck fish I wanted to buy for all our nieces and nephews. It is called BaiRong World Trade Market. I had a business card with an address, so we gave it a try and found it!! It was pretty awesome too.

 

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Tianyi Market

Tianyi 天意市场 Market (near Fuchengmen and Chegongzhuang) is sometimes called the Christmas Market because of the giant Santa statue out front. Really, it’s a wholesale market full of just about anything you can imagine. Princess Sparkley and I rode the bus (if I wasn’t so wimpy about riding our e-bike, this was almost close enough that I could have done that. B and I would have, had he gone with me.). We met a fun couple from church, AM and PG and shopped around the craziness. This was our second time there.

 

Check Check Check

6/8

On my crazy list of things to see and do in Beijing were a handful of little things that I’d never been able to check off. After our family photo shoot at the Ancient Observatory, we started to put a checkmark next to some of these things.

First up was the Kid’s Republic Bookstore. I’d seen it anytime cool bookstore or library designs are featured online, and as a book loving family, we had to see it in real life. It disappointed. It’s small and old and run-down and all the cool reading nooks were full of adults. It’s pretty cool, and I’m glad we saw it, but it wasn’t what I hoped for. And it didn’t help that it was almost entirely Chinese language books. (I know, I know… it’s in China… but still!)

Next up, a crazy China adventure. That wasn’t on my list. What was on B’s list was eating lunch at his favorite Indian restaurant, Ganges. Since we were still off of line one (the eastern end), we walked to a Ganges location we hadn’t been to before instead of some of the others in the north east we’d been to before. Walking around the mall it was supposedly in, we couldn’t find it so B called the number listed for them. A man answered and said he knew where we were, so he’d come out and get us. What ended up happening was he found us, took us to his driver (a Chinese man who spoke no English) and fit the 6 of us and a stroller into his driver’s sedan and had the driver drive us to the other location (one we’d been to before) because the location we were at was temporarily closed (that the entire basement of the mall was closed). B and I looked at each other, shrugged and got in the car. I was about a one mile drive. We ended up safely at the other Ganges and ate a delicious lunch. Only in China!!

Somehow, I heard about a Friends Cafe in Beijing. I was always a huge fan of the tv show Friends, I was even part of the live audience for a taping when I was in high school, so I knew I had to go. I never got the group of girl friends together to check it out, so Brandon (with his awesome map skills) got us there where we enjoyed some milk shakes and a cupcake. So fun! Especially since I’d just finished watching the entire series on Netflix.

 

Wangfujing Snack Street

5/6

Subway line 1, Wangfujing stop, exit and walk north.

We wanted to check out Wangfujing Snack Street (Donghuamen Snack Night Market) to see crazy stuff like scorpions on a stick. It was worth the visit for the pictures, but I’m not sure any locals actually eat this stuff. Mostly we just saw other tourists taking pictures like we were. The food wasn’t as cheap as other street food, so we just tried a few things that looked like they’d taste good. 

What we ate:

spiral potato on a stick (with tomato aka ketchup)

verdict: consistency of a chip, and messy due to the ketchup 

 

banana donut thing

verdict: delicious

 

pineapple rice bowl

verdict: yummy

 

jiaozi

verdict: always yummy

 

Tanghulu (candied haw fruit on a stick)

verdict: not as good as we were hoping, kind of weird and mushy

 

eggroll like things

verdict: hot, and just okay

 

 

 

 

 

Then we wandered into a bookstore that had an entire floor of English language books! That took awhile for this book loving family.

 

 

 

 

Then another bookstore, not at exciting (closer to the subway) but it did have an airplane bedroom set Buddy loved. THEN, we saw the real snack street and the crowds!

 

 

 

Everyone was still hungry so at our subway stop we exited the side where our street food carts are. It was hilarious because the police must have been driving them away. Just as we showed up, they all rode away, returning after a trip around the block. They did this once more before they finally were set up and secure enough to take our orders. Buddy and Little Guy had “hot dogs” on a stick with some spices. B, PS and I had Kao Leng Mian. B got his la (spicy) and PS and I got ours bu la (not spicy). While we waited, I had to dump water on a small fire that ignited one of the times the police had driven away all the street vendors, the kids had their picture taken a bunch, and a random, English speaking Chinese guy gave us a bag of muffins (from a Starbucks type shop) as a thank you for me taking his picture with the kids.

 

 

While PS is away…

While PS was in Hong Kong, we took the boys on a few little adventures.

Saturday, 4/30 we went to the mall down by the southern Ikea and ate lunch at a yummy Japanese place called Udon and Tempura.

 Above: Udon noodles… delicious, with a hint of curry. Mmmm.
Below: a curry beef and rice dish

Then we shopped a little at the mall (bought Squidgems his Star Wars BB8 shirt from Uniqlo) and then explored the Subway Culture Park.

 

 

We found this giant tile subway map at the Subway Culture Park.

Little Guy (far left) is standing on our subway stop and Buddy (far right) is standing on the church subway stop.

 

 

 

 Inside an old Beijing subway train.

From there we headed to just south of Tiananmen Square and explored some hutong streets while trying to find the Christian Woodcarver so we could buy a nativity.

 

We ended the day at the  Xidan bookstore (B shopped for maps) and then a Korean Bibimbap restaurant at on of the Xidan malls. Bibimbap is one of B’s new favorite foods.

Top left is a weird bibimbap… there’s an egg in that seaweed ball. Bottom left is a beef and rice dish. Bottom right is beef udon noodles. Delicious.

China Life

 Squatting

 Mid day, I find groups of men like this gathered around watching a Chinese chess game.

 Lionel Messi chip aisle!

 

You can’t tell by my picture, but the woman in purple is wearing tights as pants. They have a polka dot design up to the upper thigh where it stops and by the seams, you can definitely tell these are tights, not pants.

 

This guy was smoking on our subway train late one night. He moved from car to car so at each stop, when the subway employee came looking for him, he was sneaking past them into the next car and they couldn’t spot him. He seemed obviously inebriated with something (not sure if drug use happens here in China) or mentally unwell.

 

No one old enough to be in a romantic relationship should also have a giant bunny backpack.

 Grocery shopping: At our local grocery store, in order to buy something from the office supply section (ie: a 28 cent roll of tape) you have to get this ticket and wait in line at a register across the store from the office supply section. Mostly, this encourages me not to buy office supplies at our grocery store. On this particular day, I had to wait in line behind four people in order to buy tape. Tape!! It was a bad China day for me.

 Trash trucks.

 I was trying to capture the little girl in red sitting side saddle on the back of her dad’s bike, but they were too speedy for me.

 Electric scooter with a little seat.

 Toddler in army coat carrying a gun.

 When Princess Sparkley and I travel to youth activities on Tuesday nights, this guy is out in front of our store with his turtle on a lease. He rotates between two different turtles. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, but one time he had a plastic tub full of small turtles, so maybe he’s selling turtles?

 For a youth activity, they did a photo scavenger hunt at Solana mall. They had to get a picture of a weird translation sign.

 A few weeks ago they tore up the sidewalk in front of our grocery store and re-tiled it. Then a week later this tractor came in and tore it all up to retile it again.

 

Paining characters on the sidewalk with water.

 My favorite candy bar (milk chocolate with sea salt and caramel) is only at one of our stores now. And for some reason, it’s Y12 (about $2) while all the other flavors are Y9.60 ($1.50). Not a huge amount of money, but I’m already justifying 1) buying candy and 2) buying a more expensive chocolate when I could have a Snickers for Y4 or a Dove milk chocolate for Y7.

 

Mmmm… this is one of my favorite street foods. Breakfast at our subway stop. It took awhile, but I figured out it is called Jidan guanbing 鸡蛋灌饼. A bread, fried with an egg cracked in it. Then a hot dog-like sausuage and potatoes with carrot and peppers. Oh, and some sort of sauce painted on… probably fermented soy bean paste or something similar.

More street food info: http://beijinghaochi.com/suzhou-egg-crepe-jidan-guanbing

and  http://www.meatlovessalt.com/2014/05/beijing-breakfasts/

A fun infographic of Beijing street foods: http://www.timeoutbeijing.com/features/Food__Drink-Food_Features/149867/Beijings-best-street-food.html

 

Yes, this is an adult woman with a cell phone case that looks like a baby bottle.

 After going to the Ancient Observatory (which is just above this station), I finally understood the tile art of the Jianguomen station.

 This is not a car accident. This was deemed a successful parking job by the driver of the black car.

 

I like that the Max. 3 Persons sign looks like they are dancing.

 My new favorite orange (tangelos, I think) because they peel easily and are 99% seedless.

The white fluff in the stroller… this is a dog.

Notice the little girl riding in front of her mom’s legs. (Three gals, on a scooter.)

China Life

 PS wants to buy all these fish and set them free… the problem is where to set them free?!

 Now that it has warmed up a bunch, these bird cages are hung out in trees and we see them when we go out to run errands.

 Saw this tiny excavator leaving the Beijing Automobile Museum.

 Getting all the vegetables cut and ready for breakfast/lunch/dinner at the restaurant.

 

I see men carrying their significant other’s purse quite often.

 ?

 This may look like a rescue mission. In actuality, it’s a guy, trimming tree branches, with a chain saw.

We transfer from line 1 to line 2 every week at Jianguomen station to get to church. It wasn’t until after visiting the Ancient Observatory and the Planetarium that I understood the murals above the train tracks. This is the station beneath the Ancient Observatory. Further down the track, it actually depicts the observatory. This specific mural is the Chinese interpretation of the big dipper, which I saw at the Planetarium.

 All of a sudden this is in our stores… no idea what it is. Ideas?

 Crowded transfer from 1 to 14 at Dawanglu subway station.

 Below: Shopping at Miniso… it’s a Japanese or Korean dollar store type shop. We love it, but some of the stuff is a bit crazy!

And in the Tour Le Jours Bakery next door… (ie: croutons).

I’d mentioned to my friend Becky that I wanted to try to find a Mooncake mold to bring back to the States as my souvenir. She found me one in Tianjin when there family visited!! The characters are for Double Happiness.

 PS thinks this Tinkerbell candy gun is hilarious.

 Granddaughter riding on Grandpa’s shopping trolley.

 Pet fish? Dinner?

 I want to take the boys here. For Y10 they cut your hair and vacuum you clean. At first, I thought it was a vacuum cut place.

Popsicles. Based on the picture, it looks like a stack of haw fruit frozen in water.

 A few days after Easter, our grocery store had this display table out front with markers and eggs.

 On the way to church, right before boarding the line 13 train, there are an especially large amount of red banners.

 Our church district had a dinner followed by viewing the General Women’s meeting. Afterwards, walking to the subway, one of the street food vendors was selling “grilled” jiaozi! Yum! This was fuller, we’d eaten some before I took the picture. And it only cost Y10… less than $2 USD.

B took me to the Alley Market down the street to get Jian Bing. He’d tried it on his way home from transferring money at the bank and said it was yummier than the Jian Bing we had in Tianjin. It was good. Bu La means not spicy/hot. That’s helpful for me to remember. It sort of tasted like a Taco Bell burrito that was heavy on the lettuce… and crunchy. The guy makes a crepe like shell… but it’s crunchy. Then he cooks an egg on it. Then his wife paints spicy stuff on it, adds green leaf lettuce and a fried dough stick, folds it up and chops it in half. Super filling. Y6, about $1 USD.

Here’s someone else’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOcmUl8c7Sc