According to this article, "crickets from Shandong Province (that's where we live) are regarded as the best fighting breed." I think Shandong men also have a reputation for being obstreperous.
Bugs, creepy-crawlies, insects. You have been warned...
First, the crickets and cicadas singing in the plane trees that line the boulevard are really loud. It reminds me of my grandfather's farm in Southern Illinois. We have seen elderly gentlemen with long poles reaching into these trees. Perhaps they are collecting seed pods but they may be catching critters. Because the Chinese (not all of them, obviously) have crickets as pets and hold cricket fights.
Crickets are sold in little cages, I've seen cricket sellers with bundles of little woven wicker cricket cages on the street in Beijing and Zibo. We also spotted them in the YiWu market in little plastic cages. They looked big and downright muscular.
From chirping to buzzing: our daily bike rides often take us down Nanjing Avenue, which is a pleasant greenbelt through the apartment complexes in our part of town. As an illustration of the laissez-faire capitalism that springs up everywhere in China, a beekeeper has set up camp in the greenbelt with several dozen hives. Ross snapped a pic of him handling his bees -- no suit, hat, no veil, no gloves. He sells honey and other bee-related products and once when he rode past, we saw him treating a man's knees, probably for arthritis. He picked up a bee with a pair of chopsticks and applied it to the knee so it could sting the patient.
Ross is getting bit by some little insect but the effect is hardly therapeutic. I am getting the odd bite as well, but don't have as much of a skin reaction as he does. Insect repellent spray is prominently available in the grocery store. We have screens on our windows. But I've lived in buggier places (like Southern Illinois) and what few bugs there are, do not bother me. I notice that the Chinese people of my acquaintance are very quick to wave flies away from food on the table. They really dislike flies. But other bugs are welcome, namely, the ones that have been deep-fried and tossed with garlic and spices. (You were warned.)
As part of our Boshan vacation, we got a chance to sample some of the local cuisine, including deep fried cicadas. We've already eaten beetles, and I concluded that most anything is palatable with a garlic-based sauce. But these cicadas were big, and they had wings and stuff. My eyes did goggle a bit when the plate was set down in front of me.
About the author:
I blog about my research into Jane Austen and her world, plus a few other interests. Welcome! My earlier posts (prior to June 2017) are about my time as a teacher of ESL in China (just click on "China" in the menu below). More about me here.
© Lona Manning 2023