Saturday, October 6, 2012

Beijing brotherly love

On our first day together in Beijing, we headed to a Chinese cooking class where we made Kung Pao Chicken, Tiger Peppers, Beer Duck, Steamed fish and ginger pudding. The Kung Pao was by far the best. Todd has offered to make it for any friends willing to come to dinner and try it out! The class was in a courtyard home in a hutong, which are the community-based alleyways which are characteristic of Beijing, but are threatened with eradication as more modern living spaces (high rise apartment buildings) take over.

After the cooking class we wanted to get some shopping out of the way, so we attempted to take a taxi to the Silk Market, one of the large markets for fake goods and souvenirs in Beijing. Unfortunately we didn't get the best of luck with our taxi driver, as many things were lost in communication and it took a few red-light referrals for him to find the way to where we wanted to go. Once we were there though the bargaining was on fast and furious, and the vendors quickly set their sights on the two of us who they deemed most likely to fall for sucker bets:

Scott and Juli found a couple things to pick up, a "North Face" and "Jack Wolfskin" jacket respectively, but Todd was underwhelmed by the fake Oakleys on display and try as they might, the sellers just wouldn't come down to his price, so he left empty-handed.

In the evening, we took a bike tour through the city with Bike Beijing. This gave Scott the opportunity to quickly see a lot of the city that we had already visited, and gave us the opportunity to see some additional parts of Beijing that we hadn't yet checked out such as Tien'anmen Square, the Bell Tower, and the National Center for the Performing Arts, also known as the "Egg".

The tour was a great way to see the city and we enjoyed talking to our tour guide Hiro who was a young Beijing local. He was fascinated with Scott's arms ("they are much bigger than a normal man" - Scott obliged by giving him some diet and training tips).

After the bike tour we went to dinner once more at the Wangfujing night market (had to show Scott) then to the bars in the international hutong, where we finally found some Chinese local brews that were not lagers and which packed more of a punch than the national 3% beers. We did a little bit of a pub crawl before heading back to the hotel - we had scheduled an early wake up call in order to see the Great Wall, hopefully before the tourist hordes invaded.

1 comment:

The Nextian said...

Todd: I want to take you up on your (Juli's?) offer of Kung Pao chicken and haggling with vendors or bartenders in SF. Pick a date.