Sunday, June 19, 2011

16 June

Beijing has already captured by heart in the brief time we've been here.

Our second day started with delicious, large dumplings filled with pork and oozing with tongue pleasing juices. We then ate candied hawthorne berries on a stick - which were equally amazing. Bellies full, we headed for Silk Street. On the long walk there, we stopped at Dairy Queen, where I tried a Mango Cheese Blizzard - weird, yet surprisingly satisfying.

Once at Silk Street, we took a deep breath, braced ourselves, and plunged into the sea of overly caffeinated vendors. "Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello, you buy!", "Hey you, sexy boy!", "Lady, Sir, you come to my shop?", etc filled our ears. My favorite bargaining experience was over a shirt, which she quoted for 800-something Yuan, then 430, and 350. When asked for my best price, I said, "30." "Dollars??" "No, quai." "You're killing me! Quai?" I started to walk away and she said, "ok, I give you best price... just say yes or no, and walk away. 50." "No." "You pig! You cheap! (Insert Chinese yelling.)" I walked away laughing.

We left Silk Street on a bargaining high and metroed to Tiananmen to meet up with Stephane, Tim, and Amanda. Once altogether, we went for dinner near Tim's university. The place we wanted to go was out of duck, so we went to their favorite restaurant and ate the most amazing food yet. Desert was in the form of meat on skewers from street vendors (mmm, squid). From there, we headed to Hoh Hai - a popular night spot overlooking a manmade lake, which effortlessly reflected the signs and lights of the bars that peppered the slim streets.

On the way, Karen, Tim, and I upheld a traditional Tim game, in which the rules were: finish a bottle of wine together before you arrive at your destination. We won.

At Hoh Hai, we wandered into Huxley's, a bar in an alley with the slogan, "Shut up. Just drink." Which we did. We had mixed drinks and crazy named shots. From there, we went to a raggae bar that Tim raved about - sofas outside, good and cheap drinks, and kittens. We drank several, also ridiculously named shots. The night ended after a long kitten petting and playing-with session. The kitten was the cutest ball of white fur in all of China. We cabbed home, and I collapsed into the best night's sleep I've had in weeks.

PS - You could say it from time to time...

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