Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bringing it in Beijing

For our last city stop of Beijing, we were staying at a fancy Marriott hotel near the city wall and even got upgraded to a room with two king beds and a sofa that was probably about the size of our apartment. Arriving fresh from the overnight train, we quickly changed and headed to the Summer Palace, a former summer residence for emperors outside the city center.

Like so many other attractions in China, the summer palace was packed, but we found a seemingly less crowded corner of the park and enjoyed a nice boat ride and walking around Suzhou street, which is kind of a touristy-shop area within the Palace.

The next morning we woke early to try to visit the Forbidden City before it got too crowded. As you can see below, we were partially successful...there is some open space to move around!

We then went to Bei Hai Park and had a nice boat ride and lunch in the park. For dinner, we visited the night market and watched as vendors sold starfish, silk worms, larvae, and scorpions. Unfortunately, we didn’t see many people eating these delicacies. My favorite was the 5 scorpions on a stick that were still alive and wiggling their legs. Yuck. 

We did have various street food including mutton hamburger, egg pancake stuffed with pork, dumplings and other things we couldn't identify. We also did some shopping. Juli was very excited to find the two terracotta warrior statues that she wanted and appropriately haggled over. Todd bought a very respectable Oba-Mao t-shirt (Obama in the style of Chairman Mao) that said “serve the people”. We will let you interpret that one as you choose. We then headed back to the hotel to eagerly await the arrival of Todd’s brother Scott who (after much drama due to the closure of the Chinese embassy for the holiday) received his Chinese visa and was able to board a flight from Japan.

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