龙8娱乐是正规平台吗:Crickets, walnuts and more in Qingta Hutong

By William Wang
在线真钱打牌平台 CRI, 02 01, 2013
Adjust font size:


Cricket songs are loved around the world but particularly in China, people keep crickets to fill their homes with their cheerful sounds. Those looking for a little singsong bug of their own need look no farther than Qingta Hutong, where the chirpy critters provide a central focus to the cricket market.

Tucked just off the West Second Ring Road, Qingta Hutong is a unique part of Beijing culture that largely survives outside of the collective consciousness. (It's definitely not big on the tourist circuit.) From its south end, Qingta begins in quiet obscurity, but progressing onwards, a chorus of crickets imperceptibly rises. Around a turn, the market reveals itself, and perhaps a thousand crickets in individual containers make a veritable racket.

As one Chinese woman browsed the crickets with her husband, a vendor pulled the insects out of toilet paper rolls with newspaper over the ends. He'd display one for a few seconds before roughly tossing it back in and pulling out another to show the couple.

The woman looked up from the merchandise to explain, "These katydids aren't for fighting; they're for singing. Crickets are for fighting. These insects make sounds for us to listen to." She paused to try and discern the sound of one particular cricket before adding, "The tradition of keeping crickets has a long history. The sound of katydids is really annoying in the summer, but in winter we hold them near our chest and keep them alive for fun."

Ma Hong runs the little Lao Ma Ming Chong store ("Old Ma Singing Bug" store) where boxes of crickets are stacked along the walls. "We have bush crickets, field crickets and katydids," Ma announces. "They're divided into different levels. The ones that are more attractive or the ones that sing more beautifully are more expensive. Smaller ones that don't sing so well are cheaper. Most people believe a cricket that sings at a lower pitch sounds better because if it's too high pitched, it can be annoying."

During this season, singing crickets dominate the supply. But in late summer, fighting crickets steal the market's spotlight. Following the Tang Dynasty sport, people elbow for space to watch and bet on cricket fights held in the central market space.

In contrast to such violence, the market's second focus is walnut exercise balls and carved walnut bracelets. A number of stalls sell pairs of exercise walnuts used to keep the hands nimble and aid circulation. Pairs of walnut balls can cost several hundred yuan depending on their size, shape and weight. Carved bracelets can cost up to 4,000 yuan, depending on the artisans who made them. Many of the bracelets come with the artists' signed photo ID cards.

Further north is where the rest of the non-cricket pets are found. Myna birds, exotic turtles and more are on display inside and outside the stores. A woman sitting on the sidewalk asks everyone who walks by if they want a dog. A crate of writhing mealworms basks in the sun. Schools of feeder fish frantically await their destiny in open metal boxes.

A man selling walnut exercise balls and bracelets looks over the market.

"There's not much history here," he says. "This place started up 10 years ago, and it's already been shut down once. The main space of the market has been shut down for three years now. But some people still come here to play."

If anything, he was being modest. The market is particularly vibrant on weekends, even during the winter months. The crickets manage to chirp all year round, keeping things lively. And come August, the fighting field crickets will bolster the atmosphere as their fights to the death draw speculators, gamblers and curious onlookers alike.

Getting to Qingta Hutong: From Chegongzhuan subway station (Line 2), take exit D, walk south five minutes to Xigongjiang Hutong on the left. Walk 50 meters in before turning right into Beiyudai Hutong.

Follow 311.1155150.com on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

龙8娱乐是正规平台吗:Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:    
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from 311.1155150.com在线真钱打牌平台
Copyright ? 311.1155150.com. All Rights Reserved 京ICP证 040089号 京公网安备110108006329号
网络传播视听节目许可证号:0105123 京公网安备110108006329号 京网文[2011]0252-085号
大三巴1倍打码 申博外围开户 凯博官网直营 在线真钱打牌平台 在线真钱打牌平台
心博天下注册开户 迪威娱乐导航 亿豪娱乐平台怎么样 福德正神开户最高代理 财富娱乐现金网网站
恒达集团登陆网址 赢波娱乐荷官现场发牌 赛马彩票一分PC蛋蛋 真人网上彩票注册 神话娱乐游戏不了
太阳城申博最新官方网Sunbet 辉煌娱乐娱乐网下载 申博上网导航 菲律宾申博游戏开户 申博官方网