Last night was the opening night of the Dalian international beer festival. It was so much fun! We went down around 6 and the crowds were really just starting to form. It took place in XingHai park, the biggest park in the city and it was 20 RMB to get in ($3). It had everything you'd expect in a beerfest - stages with music, plenty of different beer vendors, food kiosks everywhere, giant inflatable beer bottles...
We took a seat at the Zhujiang beer area, simply because there was room. But it quickly filled up. In fact, probably within 20 minutes of us arriving, there were no seats to be found. The beer was good although a bit warm. Very low alcohol too, only %3.6. The atmosphere was fantastic. There were bands performing nearby, but luckily we weren't so close that we couldn't carry on a conversation. The weather was beautiful too, humid and warm, but with a gentle breeze that made it quite pleasant.
Carmen and I were a bit hungry, and we decided we were in the mood for these latticed type fries that we'd seen. So we pushed our way through the crowds, back toward the fry stand. The road was really congested by this point, and it was further than we remembered. We passed stalls selling fruit, meat kebabs, squid, pork buns, and frozen snacks. Finally, the fry stand was the next one, just ahead of us.
The police chose that moment to pull up a barricade. No! Our fries were so close, yet out of reach. So we ordered some buns instead. The crowd was too dense for us to move through, so we just ate our food there. Unfortunately, the hoards of people kept pressing up against us, even though there was nowhere for anyone to go. It got worse and worse. More people were pushing forward, trying to get out of the mob. One lady kept calling to the police to please let her old mother stand on the other side of the rope, but it was no use. Occasionally the mass of people would sway and a great surge would thrust Carmen and I against the food stall to which we were already crushed. There were moments I actually felt nervous that there was going to be a stampede and people would get trampled to death. A few times the lurching throng pitched us so hard against the tables, that the whole stand almost went toppling down. On top of all this, there were a couple of moths that were fluttering under the roof. I began to panic if one flapped too closely, pushing back into the crowd, which only induced more dangerous pushing. Finally, we decided to make a move. We wiggled and pushed, got elbowed and stepped on, but slowly we made our way out of the pack. It was chaos. Fireworks were going off, people were shoulder to shoulder, and we (being quite short) could barely see where we were.
Eventually we made it back to the safety of our table and the comfort of our beers. We stayed til it closed at about midnight. Great fun - almost being flattened aside. My arm is still sore from being smahsed against the tent!
To make this a traditional Amanda style entry, I will have to mention the food! There was a great variety of stuff, various skewers of lamb, beef, squid, chicken heads and other unidentified items. Also meat buns, fries, rice-in-a-leaf things, fish, and whole crabs! Probably a bunch more I didn't see too. Here are a few pics, the rest are in the Dalian Beerfest album. Please check it out!
This is the Beck's area, with some happy man waving at us!
unable to move!
chicken heads, seaweed, squid, crabs!
lamb and fish