OL and I decided to sleep in this morning after a challenging day at the Great Wall yesterday. The people of the Hutong however decided they needed to do some reconstruction starting at 7am.
And the Chinese hotel guests decided to release their children into the halls for recess around 7:15. They are also fond of having large group discussions in the hallway. Loudly enough that I’d swear they were beside my bed.
So sleeping in didn’t happen. We were wide awake by 8. So we ate some left over snacks from yesterday as breakfast. Which meant Oreos for OL and croissants and milk crackers for me.
Did I mention how much I hate not having a proper breakfast. God this hotel shits the bed.
We walk to Tiantan and Tiantan Park. It’s a sunny breezy non-humid day. Gorgeous for Beijing summer. But it’s a long walk in the sun for me.
Enroute a Chinese grandmother verbally abuses her spouse. Screeching at him in public. This is not shocking. The surprise is her granddaughter joins in yelling at him. And the poor old man takes it. They are behind us and this continues for like 20 minutes. Ouch.
The walk takes almost 45 minutes to get to TianTan park. It’s killer, especially after climbing to and around Great Wall yesterday.
Here’s some signage at the entrance.
The park is absolutely lovely. Buy the through ticket for 35 yuan. It’s worth it. You get to see all the important parts.
Yesterday we noticed that the strap on my purse was fraying and I decided to pick up a cheap new one. As luck would have it, we see an old lady selling small bags outside the park. We ask how much. She says 45. Quite reasonable. OL comes back with 30 and holds. She gives in quickly.
Then another Chinese person comes over and asks her in Chinese how much she got us to pay. The Chinese person laughs like haha another foreigner paid too much. Then she offers 20 yuan for a similar bag.
We entered through the West Gate. The park itself is really lovely. The people are pretty civilized compared to what we’ve encountered so far in Beijing.
We strolled through. Almost went to the Palace of Abstinence but it was 10 yuan extra. And we didn’t want to waste time or money. So we continued on our way.
Gotta say Tian Tan is a definite must-do in Beijing. The pinnacle of emperor construction. Ol agrees. We stop at the dressing hall for a popsicle and pictures.
We started with the Temple of Heaven and The Hall of Good Prayers for Harvest. It may be my favorite building in Beijing.
Back outside, I love the blue roof tiles.
The people are far more courteous and considerate here. We actually take turns with minimal pushing to see inside the buildings. And there are several window openings to peer through so people spread out more. Way better experience than the Forbidden City.
Read the story beside the door, it’s a fun history fact. Yes, I said fun and history fact.
So far only the Great Wall and Tiantan have lived up to my memory of them.
After we explored the buildings around it, we ventured south to the Imperial Vault of Heaven and Echo Wall. Then onto the Altar of Heaven.
The buildings are spectacular. Echo Wall surrounds the Imperial Vault of Heaven.
The space is imbued with so much energy. It started shifting my take on Beijing. I am striving to see every moment of every day is an adventure. Every person we encounter is an experience. Good or bad. Just let it all happen around us.
Next we went to the Altar of Heaven.
Then we wandered into the Cypress groves. Like massive bonsais. Such beautiful trees.
Singer near Echo Wall.
The gift shops in the park were reasonably priced too. I went on a popsicle feast to deal with the heat, eating 3 in the park. Deliciousness.
On the way out, we stumble on a music group performing inside one of the gates. The guy in the white shirt is a park worker, who politely but firmly informs them they cannot perform inside the gate and must move further outside into the park to perform. This was all in Chinese, but very nicely done and the group relocated.
I’m starving. So we head to McDonalds on Qianmen.
Long walk. Enroute, I see this guy sitting down on the wall. He gives me a bad vibe. OL is walking on the wall and I am two feet below on the sidewalk. The guy sees me and gets up. He walks with a pronounced limp but looks young. I Ofc have Ted Bundy flashes and decide he may be faking it. The timing of him getting up when he saw me just makes me suspicious.
So I pull my bag close to my body and watch him approach. And yes I’m extra cautious after getting robbed.
After he passes me, he starts shouting. Fuck you fucking bitch I’m American. Don’t judge me.
He continued for a while, neither of us understand him. I think it’s hysterical that he thinks this is about race. I couldn’t see his face from far away. All I felt was him watching me, and then saw him getting up and coming toward me with a limp. All activated my red flag of potential scammer.
Then as we close in on Qianmen this snotty bitch “bo-ho girl” deigns to speak to us and ask, “Guys do you…”
“No,” I say. Very firmly and before she finishes the question.
Which ends with know of any places to eat around here.
OL Ofc is in polite mode and says we don’t know of anything around here. We’re looking for something ourselves.
I’m tired hungry and pissed. And I’m not a guy. And I’m sick to death of people not planning their own fucking vacations and asking me stupid shit. Plus her tone of voice was I would never normally speak to you but since I need information I’ll make this one exception.
So we get to Qianmen.
I get the mcchicken sandwich. OL has his double cheeseburger and single cheeseburger.
We head back to hotel via qianmen to dazhalan to our hutong. Noting that there is a fast food Chinese place and KFC on southern Qianmen.
We pick up another popsicle for me. It’s tarter and more refreshing. Get water for room.
Go back to hotel and rest up. Plan shopping, temple, and subways for tomorrow. Plot places to eat too. In areas we are going to, may do night market at night for dinner if we find stuff we like.
Onto hand washing bras. OL folds up my laundry for me. So he can use the hangers for his laundry. It’s OL laundry time.
Then we went to the great restaurant on dazhalan. The duck place. The male waiter was so fast and efficiently put the best NYC waiter to shame. The girl had to be the own’s daughter. So slow and bad.
Had to wait but was worth it. This time had sweet and sour pork, potatoes and pork, and eggplant, potatoes and peppers. Deliciousness.
I had hua cha. So good. Refreshing, but I couldn’t drink entire pot. The portions are good size and the prices are great. 82 yuan. My tea was 15 yuan.
The lady next to us appeared to be having a severe migraine/ aneurism. She kept cradling her head in head hand. Her son looked so uncomfy.
On the other side a Chinese woman with a Caucasian man orders about 6 dishes for them. Wow. Way too much for 2 people.
Then ghengis khan starts talking in his raspy loud Chinese voice. I felt like the rebels were at the gate. Intense.
Then we walked back. In Hutong suddenly all the tiny restaurants are closing. Tables being flipped. Food brushed aside. While people are still eating.
We look down the road and there is a police vehicle with flashing lights trying to get through. At first we thought ambulance. But no sirens. The label said beijing something law in chinese. Clearly they are illegal restaurants.
So glad we never ate there. Guessing dirty and/or can’t afford/achieve permit for business=Ew.
We return to hotel after purchasing water and stamps across the street. The older couple who run the place are quite pleasant. Their English is so-so they get the basics, so we speak in a mix of Chinese and English for the stamps.