there are like a bazillion people in beijing. everywhere you go, it's crowded, anytime of day. the subway is dirt cheap (like 25 us cents a ride) but always, always crowded. and all the sites. and just everywhere you go. it's an adventure.
our first night there was frustrating because it took us a while to find our hotel (very few people in that part of the city spoke english...) and then we couldn't find a good place to eat.
but on our walk back from dinner to hotel, we heard some music coming from a small gem of a park. there, at about 9:30 at night, were a large group of people dancing in pairs in the park.
it made us so happy and love the community a little more.
we did a lot of things, all of which were really tiring, but we have gotten used to going hard all day.
tianamen square, the forbidden city and surrounding areas, the silk market (where you get not only silk, but all your made in china stuff :)), other markets, parks and restaurants.
beijing is a well populated city (15 million) but it was surprisingly spread out. the summer months (june-august) are tourist season in china. but everywhere else we've visited on this asia trip was in non-tourist season.
needless to say, there were many many tourists in beijing.
we of course loved getting popsicles as often as possible. most of them cost about 25 us cents. so worth it.
our food highlights were kung pao chicken, spring onion pancakes and most importantly:
i am really glad, my first peking duck was in china. i don't know what it is--- but it was so very delicious. the skin is all crispy and juicy. and the inside so moist. we went to da dong for our duck, it's a little fancier than most places. they served these little condiments with the duck so you roll it up in a little wrap.
i am still dreaming about how good it was.
and we were served lychee for dessert. i love that stuff. and so easy to open from the shell. a perfect little fruit.
things to remember:
we had our hotel write down directions in mandarin when we left our hotel so we could ask people directions with our piece of paper.
the rude people at the silk market that would call us crazy for bargaining too low. isn't that the name of game?
the shop owners at silk market all say "hello! excuse me!" as you walk by to greet you. ben said back, "hello! excuse you!"
lost and the simpsons were always playing without commercials, late at night when we'd been done for the day.
at first i felt "angry" there were so many people everywhere. then i got used to always rubbing up against people who don't wear deodorant or brush their teeth.
now i understand why some restaurants have photo menus - so foreigners have an ok idea of what they are ordering.
we saw a tent community. and it made me feel sad and spoiled.
i wished the subway wasn't so spread out.
after our peking duck it took half an hour to get a taxi. rarr.
metered taxis in asia are by far cheaper than bartering for a taxi price.
the color red in china is for "happiness". i like this.
learning about jade and silk was rad, but being hassled to buy things wasn't.