Tuesday, July 7, 2009

China - Days 6 & 7

Day 6 -
Tuesday was our first full day in Beijing. Rob and I woke up early and got ready for the day. Harry had told us that he would meet us at our hotel around 9am to go to the Forbidden City. So we left the hotel shortly after getting ready and went to find some breakfast. Since it was early...the only thing that we could find open outside of the hotel for breakfast was a McDonald's. Rob was happy that he got this for breakfast...where as I really wanted to have something substantial like pancakes or something. But only place that sells American pancakes for breakfast would have been the hotel restaurant. Rob didn't want to pay $30 (US dollar) for one plate of pancakes. I on the other hand thought it would be worth it...only to be able to enjoy some comfort food. lol I like Asian food...but I am just getting sick of it. After breakfast we went back to the hotel and waited for Harry. Harry called to say that his Taxi was stuck in traffic and that he should be there soon. He finally arrived around 10am. We then left and walked down to the Forbidden City. All the tour guides in the hotel said that it was only a 15 minute walk. Well it must have been a fast walker because it was a much longer walk than just 15 minutes. Oh well. The Forbidden City was really cool. After awhile though, I kept thinking, "Oh look another old building that was either a Hall or a Palace." Harry tried to explain some of the items to us...but he did not know too much as he had not been there in a very long time. It was a very very hot day yesterday. Probably around 95-97 F. degrees. Not a good day to be walking around old buildings...and 90% of everything was outside. Harry did tell us that when the Emperors did live in the Forbidden City they stayed with in the "city walls" the entire time. The only time they would leave the Forbidden City was when they would live at the Summer Palace during the summer time. After the "must see" items within the City Harry asked us what we wanted to do. I voted on heading back to the hotel. I was extremely hot and felt like I was going to die. lol well maybe not die...but I was really in no shape to be walking around anymore. Harry thought it would be cool to show us the new Beijing Subway system. It was built for the Summer Olympic Games last year...and so it is all very new. I found it as if I was in Manhattan riding the subway...but the only difference was that the place was clean and it didn't smell. Plus we only rode the subway for one stop, so it was not too much for me to notice.

Once we got back to the hotel room we just hung out and relaxed. I really had no desire to go back outside until it started to cool off. Harry told us a couple of other places that we may like to go to. He wrote the places down in Mandarin so that the taxi drivers would know where to go. Around 5:30pm or so Rob and I headed out to dinner. Harry recommended us to go eat at Peking Duck. So we went and found the place he was talking about. First off...there is no restaurant called Peking Duck. Peking Duck is only a special dish that you can order. The food though was very good. Rob and I ordered a half of a duck to share as Harry said that would be plenty for the two of us. The duck came with chinese pancakes, onions, and some type of Molasses BBQ sauce. When the duck was ready to be served...someone would bring the whole duck out on a tray and carve the duck right by your table. You were first given the duck skin to eat. You would take the duck skin and dip it into sugar to eat it. I did try it...but it tasted very weird. I do not think I would eat that again. Once the duck was carved the meat was served to the table. The server showed us how we were suppose to eat it. You took a chinese pancake, opened it up, took the duck and dipped it into the Molasses BBQ stuff, add an onion, then wrap up everything with the pancake and eat it as if it was a burrito. I preferred mine though with just the duck meat and the pancake. Skip the other steps...just plain and simple. After dinner we walked through another large mall. I do not know how many floors this one was...but it was huge. it is about 2 blocks long...and i have no idea how wide. after that we headed back to the hotel.

Day 7 -
Today was our last full day in Beijing. We slept a little bit later today. I woke up once again just craving american pancakes...and once again...i did not get them. We ended up at Starbucks and I had to pretend that my croissant was a big fluffy pancake. **didn't work out too well, btw** after breakfast we walked through the big APM mall and found a little shopping market that had all types of food. We were able to get some snack items for the day. we both said that we would come back to this store before it closed so that we could pick up items to take on the plane tomorrow. We then went and exchanged the last of our US money into Chinese RMB. We walked through an open air market and also part of what would have been the "old time beijing" where you can get the weird types of food, like scorpions on a stick or starfish or who knows what else. I have pictures of it in my picture folder labeled CHINA PART 3. We then went back down to the little gift type shop and picked up a few more things before heading back into the mall to find some lunch. I had told Rob that I wanted all American type of food today. I know that is probably bad for me to say...but I guess I am ready to be back home. We ended up eating at Pizza Hut over in the mall. I like to eat at some of the American places when I am traveling internationally so that I can see if there are different items being offered as well as the items that i am use to seeing in the states. Well Pizza Hut had tons of different things to get. You could get seafood on your pizza (i know that is not weird for most east coasters...but for a Pizza Hut...it is wierd). You could get lots of different dishes...like deep fried shrimp and some more Asian types of dishes. I know that in Germany at Pizza Hut...as a dessert item...you can get these little fried dough things that come with chocolate dipping sauce. I wish that dessert item would come to the states for PH!! After lunch we went and rested back at the hotel.

In the evening we took another crazy taxi ride over to a place to see a Peking Opera. Peking Opera is an old tradition in chinese history. the theatre that we went to has been around for 200 years and was a key place for Dr. Sun Yat-Sen for political items in the 1910s. The opera was very cool. I could not understand any of the words...but i could understand the actors. It was awesome and I am glad that I was able to see it.

Now we are back at the hotel and my dear husband is snoring away in bed. I should head that way as well...since we have to leave for the airport around 9am. Our plane leaves around 1pm and we get back into JFK around 2pm. So to us...since we have adjusted to China time...it will feel like 2am. I have a feeling that we will sleep very good tomorrow night. at least i hope we will!!

All in all it has been a good trip. It was definitely an experience that I will be able to tell my children. I would definitely come back to China only if I knew that I was coming back to a world city like Beijing. The next time we come back to BJ...I hope that we will be able to spend a week just here. I would also not recommend coming in the summer. The hotel book said the best time to come would be early spring or fall. So that is what we will do next time. :)

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