Our Third Day in Beijing was all about adventure and exploration. Unfortunately, it was also about lessons learned. The above picture is of Cliff after he realized that the taxi driver from this morning had given him 5.10RMBs (RMB is Renminbi the Chinese currency) instead of 15RMBs for change. The wrong bills were tucked underneath the appropriate 5RMB bill on top, and Cliff didn’t realize until later that afternoon that he had been had. When dealing with foreign currency and people you never know what you might get so be careful.
Our day started with said driver taking us to the 798 district about 20-30 minutes drive away from our hotel. We had heard it was this amazing place with a real artsy vibe and wanted to check it out. It did not disappoint. Especially for someone like me who likes to take goofy photographs of people. Here are a few that I took in the area:
Right after I took this picture, a group of touring Koreans walked by and took pictures of each other grabbing the sculpture’s balls. My propensity for “artsy” photos must be a Korean thing.
You gotta love anyone who is willing to let you do this to them. This whole area is surrounded by cute shops and museums. Art students and locals enjoying the scene. Every few blocks there would be models and photographers doing photo shoots.
I found myself walking along the streets, and looking down different alleys, there would be great setting like this to just enjoy. It really is a great place to explore.
After enjoying the morning at 798, Cliff, Chase and I headed back to make a 12:30pm reservation at Da Dong Restaurant. A few people had recommended the place as being great for Peking/Beijing Duck.
I don’t know why, but looking at this photo, I feel like it’s so “chinky”. The restaurant itself is actually really awesome. Very contemporary and chic. Evening would be dressy code but lunch was definitely more casual. We ordered the half duck, but I must admit, I don’t think it was enough. I’m a flexatarian and 1/2 duck did not seem sufficient for Cliff and Chase (10-year-old boy). They actually ended up going to another local restaurant for more duck that evening to satisfy their fix. The food was terrific, but I swear, the waitress we had was either slow, or “slow”, if you get what I mean.
Afterwards, Chase wanted to chillax (Chill + Relax) and Cliff and I decided to explore more of the city around us.
When you turn off the main shopping street you can find yourself in the local bazaar, or I we call it the “bizarre”:
After we walked through, we headed to the street food section of town. I was not disappointed:
Word of advice: Eat a good breakfast because you might not be in the mood for Sheep Penis later in the day.
IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA
- Style & Money: I want to revisit my impressions on my first day. I cannot say the Chinese are necessarily as stylish as the Koreans, or Japanese, but it’s not like they don’t have the goods. There were plenty of people wearing jeans and no one was waiting for their toilet paper ration. In fact, I’m not exaggerating when I tell you, within a 6 block radius there were 3 Rolex and 3 Cartier boutiques! Looks like heaven to me. Just kidding. Not really. ;) but you get my point. It was all so disorienting to me. Our guide Lilly had also mentioned that residents of Beijing who lived in the old neighborhoods in run down old-style homes (hutongs) could all wake up tomorrow and be multi millionaires if they chose because the property value within Beijing was so high.
- Babies: Everyone knows about the 1 baby rule in China, but even that isn’t absolute. If you are an only child and happen to marry another only child, you can ask the government for a waiver and have another baby! Of course you have to pay a fee, but according to Lilly, you can turn a profit at the baby’s birth day when guests will bring you money as gifts.
- Cars: Since rationing births worked so great for the population, the government thought it might work controlling traffic. You are only allowed 1 Car per household and you have to enter a lottery to be granted that privilege. Sometimes, people who don’t even want to drive enter the lottery just so they can have the grant, then they turn their “license plate” around and sell it to someone who is dying to have their own car but didn’t win the lottery.
- Men & Women: I was thinking all this time that China was full of men because girls are so worthless (not me talking). But according to Lilly, Men:Women is 49:51 percent! That whole thing about killing girls babies just applies to country folk. Just like in the US.
- Human Rights: I don’t know if Hillary knew about our plans or if it was just coincidence, but she happened to be visiting the same time we were there. When I saw her on TV talking about all the suffering Chinese and their oppression and that blind Chinese man being persecuted I wanted to gag. I don’t know who I hate more, liberals or journalists. I didn’t see 1 riot or 1 unhappy Chinese person the whole time I was here. What I did see was a LOT of entrepreneurialism, people wearing Rolexes and people eating tasty duck.
Until next time…