Friday, August 19, 2011


Our trip to Beijing a few weeks ago came during the hottest time of the year but was more than worth it to get to spend some time with friends there.  We took the high speed train (which Joel was super excited about) to Beijing and it took about 5 hours.  It really wasn't bad.  Joel and I had dinner in the dinner car and it was ok.  In my head head I had visions of classy white linens and waiters and menus but really it was just a counter where you could order some noodles and sit at a table.  Lol.  Oh well.  The ride went really fast, we watched a movie on the Ipad, read a little and then we were there!
After checking into our hotel (we were surprised with an upgrade to a suite as big as our apartment!) we went to the regency lounge for a cocktail and a snack to wait for our friends Jerry and Suzie for dinner.  We went to a really good chinese restaurant and let Jerry and Suzie order for us.  Everything was really good.  We had this one chicken dish that was cooked in a salt crust that you had to break open with a wooden stick.  The waitress let Joel and I try and we did get quite a bit of attention but it was fun.
The next day Joel and I took a walk in the area around our hotel and didn't last too long because the pollution was so bad.  We did find a nice park to walk in but then headed back to the hotel for lunch.  The night before we had ordered a duck (you have to do it in advance) from a famous restaurant in Beijing that is know for their Peking duck called Made in China.  It was so delicious.  We tried several other of their famous dishes and from where we were sitting we could watch all the cooks work.  It was a great meal.  Later that day Jerry and Suzie came and picked us up and we headed up to conquer the Great Wall of China.  We arrived after they had closed, but this is China, so Jerry just gave the guard some cash and we were in!  Even though it was 5pm by the time we got there it was still crazy hot.  We did climb but all of us had to take several breaks and were drenched in sweat by the time we got to the top.  It was cool to be able to check it off my list, but the pollution in Beijing was so bad that it wasn't as awe-inspiring as I thought it would be.  Maybe if we could have seen more than 10 yards in front of us it would have been better.  We also had a mung bean popsicle for the first time to cool off after our walk, it was weirdly good and addicting.   After we were done we had the pleasure of being invited to dinner by Jerry's mom and we spent the evening in her house.  It was good to have a home cooked meal with a really great family.  The dinner was so good and Joel and I felt like we were at home.  Made us a little home sick but was a nice change from the fast paced city life we are used to.
Our last day in Beijing We got up early for breakfast at the hotel and then went to see Tiananmen square and the Forbidden City with Jerry and Suzie.  It was huge and really cool to see even though it was soooo hot!!  We, of course, were some of the very few non-Asians there so we were sort of a spectacle, had to have our picture taken but we are starting to get used to it.  For lunch to cool off we went to an amazing Vietnamese restaurant and had some cold beers.  The restaurant had old rickshaws (I think that is what they are called) as chairs and also had a roof top where you could see a lake and old shopping street.  It was a great area to walk around in and have lunch and then do a little bit of souvenir shopping.
After our fun day we unfortunately had to say goodbye and get back on the high speed train to Shanghai.  

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