Four Days in Beijing...
I was finally able to make it to Beijing for longer than 3 days, and that extra day made a huge difference. I was actually able to relax a bit, and enjoy some wonderful food (that's what my life seems to revolve around here, and my mom thought I was food obsessed before!). It gave me a chance to walk around and see more parts of the city, and to forget about work life for a bit.
Arriving on Friday morning with Jodee and Stephanie, the first order of business was getting a hostel. The lady behind the desk asked her friend in Chinese, thinking I couldn't understand, "should we tell them 60 or 70RMB?". So of course she told us 70RMB and I wouldn't take anything over 60. Next we went for lunch and had sushi before having Blizzards at DQ! The weekend was off to a good start when we met up with Kim and Tami at the hostel. The five of us headed out for all you can eat and drink at another sushi place for only 68RMB! Lots of sushi, sashimi, tempura, salad, and a few drinks. I planned to make it an early night, but I ended up running into a few Canadians and French at the hostel, so I didn't make it back until sometime past 5AM.
Saturday the girls headed up the Great Wall, so I decided to do a bit of exploring on my own. I started with Prince Gong's Mansion and gardens, which were quite nice except for the hoards of Chinese students on a tour who stood in front of everything interesting. But I could see how it would be nice if it was quieter. The weather was actually nice and warm, so I wandered by HouHai then to my new favourite cafe between the Bell and Drum Towers for a much needed iced latte.
Then it was off to the National Art Museum of China, which had a few really cool exhibits. I couldn't bear the thought of eating Chinese food so I had a turkey club sandwich back at the hostel, which definitely filled the craving.
Sunday morning Kim, Tami and I went for breakfast at Steak & Eggs, a great place with REAL Western food including toast from real bread, bottomless coffee, and even poutine (I almost cried when I saw it on the menu, I must go back!). The three of us headed to a friend's place for lunch where we head real shepherd's pie with a real salad complete with olive oil and vinegar dressing. See, I'm obsessed with food! Next we hit up the NiuJie Mosque, one of the biggest/oldest mosques in Beijing. The architecture was surprisingly Chinese, with only a few inscriptions in Arabic to set it apart from the average Chinese temple. Of course we had to have Muslim food (大盘鸡) for dinner.
Monday was my last day in the Chinese capital, so I made the best of it by starting off with pancakes and French toast at Lush with Kim near WuDaoKou. Next we went to the Beijing World Art Museum which had a great special exhibit on Pompei which for some reason we got into for 25RMB instead of the normal 50. We had a late lunch/coffee with an Aussie friend whom I met in Kunming, before grabbing another DQ Blizzard and the train back to Baoding.