Tuesday, December 10, 2013

first day in beijing

We took a train from Shanghai to Beijing to meet up with Andrew's friend Zach and his wife Wenjing. On the train we got to see a lot of the "country side" between the two towns. I put it in quotes, because there was no country side, it was all farms or cities. Huge cities I had never heard of that probably had millions of people living in them. We also saw China's love of high rise apartment buildings. There would be smaller town, probably no bigger than a few hundred thousand people, but there would be at least fifty or sixty apartment buildings, all highrises.

In Beijing, we had a nice place to stay, just outside of the Forbidden City and even more importantly, close to a Subway Restaurant, which was still a daily stop of ours (by the end of our time in Beijing, the lady who worked there recognized us and laughed whenever we came in). On our first day there, we met up with Zach and he took us to a park that was just outside the Forbidden City. It had a big hill in it that had a really good view into the Forbidden City.

After the park, we walked through a part of the old city of Beijing that was kept looking like it used to. It was full of one story grey concrete buildings with the traditional Chinese roof. It was a cute neighborhood, but the real reason for the excursion into it was to find one of Beijing's oldest Microbreweries, the Great Leap Brewing Company (and yes, the pun is intended).

After a few pints at the Great Leap, we headed into the big city part of Beijing, to meet up with Wenjing for our first real Chinese dinner. It was a restaurant style called Hot Pot where you get a big pot full of different stuff (water, oil, coconut water and spices) and then they just dump all the food you order into the pot for it to cook together. We let Zach and Wenjing order since they were the pros. We got mushrooms, lotus root and chicken. When in China and you order chicken, chickens are what you get.

Our chicken before it was dumped in the hot pot. Yes all of it.

 It was a good meal and sat well with our stomachs, so win, win. We also learned that the tastiest part of the chicken is its scalp... who knew. Only the beginning of the things we'd learn about food in China!

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