|Ma Hong smiles at his latest creation --- a cricket house made from a gourd. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/William Wang]|
Key Words:Hutong; Daiy life
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.
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