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Today we decided to get steamed buns for breakfast. In theory this should work out. We found a place with a name in English. So we walk there. It’s about 30 mins from hotel. We arrive and they only speak Chinese and menu is on wall in Chinese. No pictures. Fuck.
I try asking what has eggs in it explaining OL can’t eat eggs. She then points to these cold meat dishes. Ew.
Every vacation, meals are a huge headache. Especially when the hotel has no breakfast place. Or rather no decent breakfast place that doesn’t gouge tourists.
In desperation, I go to bakery and get pastries. OL has oreos and butter cookies in room.
Once we’ve eaten, we set out for Hepingmen station to subway to Yong he gong temple. It’s noon by the time we arrive. We spend 1.5 hours walking around the temple.
It is amazing.
The absolute attention to detail and loving care put into creating each temple building and the buddhas.
I wonder what happened to those people. Because you don’t see craftsmanship like this anymore. The ceilings were ornate. The external architecture saturated my corneas. The buddhas lightened my heart.
I was in awe of the ginormous 18 meter Buddha carved from one piece of wood. I couldn’t get a good pic.
Ofc there was a little boy in croch less pants at the temple. And when his mother went to pray he laid down on the prayer cushion pressing his genitalia into the place where people kneel and press their forehead to kowtow. And also showing the entire world his irritated and brown asshole.
Ew. That mother is disgusting. And do you really think your prayers will be answered when you befoul a temple?!
There’s also a bottomless boy whose dad takes him over to a tree in front of everyone to take a shit. Seriously. On the temple grounds in public. I can’t get over this complete lack of respect. For the temple, for their child and for themselves. It’s just gross.
I loved the semi-covered statues depicting sexual positions with the Buddha. Perfect for teaching the young emperor about sex.
The gift shop however was a massive disappointment. Prayer beads for 1200 yuan. Statues for 800 yuan. Ouch. No books on the temple. Grrr.
Saw a cool metal wall hanging for 200 yuan but what a price.
I just couldn’t.
The shops across the street all carry incense and statues.
Ol saw some gorgeous prayer beads. I’m eating my jasmine tea ice cream
so he has to bargain. The lady however only speaks Chinese. So i translate for her but don’t enter the fray. he walked away at 40, but really wanted them. So we walked back and i said 100 for 2 huge green sandalwood prayer beads. Overpriced but she wouldn’t move more than 10 yuan and OL loved them.
We got on subway and went to Jianguomen.
Walked to friendship store for restaurants. Went to Steak and Eggs restaurant.
It was the best meal we had in Beijing. Clean. Quiet. The waitress spoke English. The food was delicious.
OL had turkey club with French fries. I had super breakfast with 3 scrambled eggs, 2 bacon, 2 sausage, and 1 ham. Home fries and a biscuit with jam.
Felt like I was in the US for a moment. Good service. Good food.
An absolute rarity here in China.
Then we went to the friendship store.
It was an absolute joke. The prices on the goods were equivalent to opening prices at markets and stores. Chopstick set priced at 185 yuan. OL got exact same one for 30 yuan. Wtf!
The whole point of the friendship store is to give foreigners a fair fixed price. A bit above what the good bargaining price is. But don’t rape them blind.
I get why no one goes to these stores anymore and they are closing down in most cities.
What I don’t get is why the government can’t turn a profit. Price everything at 10-20 yuan above the best bargaining price. Look we foreigners hate the hassle of bargaining for every little thing. It’s annoying and time consuming and we know we will never get the real Chinese price.
We don’t mind a little premium for a pleasant shopping experience. But charging ten times more than the bargaining price I can get is just stupid.
We walked onward to the Silk Market.
What a disappointment. I remember the fun of the outdoor silk market back in 1998. This is a poor substitute. The stall sellers are super aggressive literally grabbing a woman’s wrist. One corralled me into her stall and refused to let me out until OL reached around and pulled me out.
They opened with insane prices. 600 yuan for a small statue. Look I’ll go up to 60 but when you open that high I start at 35. Because you’re an asshole. I’m not getting tricked into the let’s meet in the middle bullshit either.
The silk robes were lined with polyester. Or scratchy brocade inside without a lining. Crap actually. Absolute crap. Nothing I wanted to buy. The scarves are okay but nothing I hadn’t seen before. Honestly Shanghai and Xian had better markets.
We left without making a purchase.
Walked to Guiyou department store. Browsed for jade but the cheapest piece started at 1200 yuan. Ouch. The cheapest one I kinda liked was 3000 yuan. The girl said we have a discount. Yeah not that much. I don’t get this price high thing. If I don’t know how much it costs I don’t really want to see it or like it. No point. Bargaining is the most corrupt system ever. It’s a way to fuck the customer to the wall with a nail gun.
So we attempted to get on subway at 6:30. Bad move. People were packed in like sardines ala Tokyo. We left. Wandered through another market. Decided to go to Baskin Robbins by friendship store to kill time. Had a green tea ice cream.
Then walked to jianguomen
and caught the subway to Hepingmen. Got more snacks for OL breakfast and water.
Dinner nightmare begins. We walk to fast food Chinese restaurant. The menu is not so good. We figure out what we want and order but she tells us nope only have two items left on menu. Wtf?! Why give us the menu then.
We leave. OL asks where, everything is closing. I say KFC.
At KFC they hand us a picture menu that has been defaced and is impossible to read. I tell her we can’t read it and ask for another one. But they don’t have it. Wtf.
So I ask if it is breast meat. She looks at me with zero comprehension. And I don’t know the Chinese word for breast. I am so fucking tired of this country, I grab my breast and say breast meat. She giggles and says yes. So I say I’ll take it. Get OL fries and ice cream.
Sit down to eat inside KFC on Qianmen. This is a nice area of town. Or so we think. Until a Chinese guy spits a giant mucus ball on the floor at KFC near us.
I kinda comprehend the street spitting but inside a restaurant?!
He’s just a pig dressed in human skin and human clothes. I mean this is beyond anything. I don’t understand how you can aspire to western luxuries and remain such an absolutely savage beast.
You can spit in a napkin or a bag. But on the floor of a restaurant. No. Inexcusable.
We walk back.
I check out the robe I almost bought. The price went from 30 to 85. I agree to 45. But then I examine it and there are all these loose threads and pulls in the sewing. Badly sewn piece of crap. So we don’t buy it.
Today was a hot one. Horribly humid. We woke up early enough for Bfast at the hotel. Red bean paste buns, fried rice in wonton wrapper and eggs. OL had watermelon and pb and j sandwich.
We headed over to Jing An temple. Despite being squashed amongst the skyscrapers, it was a lovely temple.
Cabbed it over to Yufu temple. Worth the cab ride. Gorgeous jade buddhas. Quieter temple. We couldn’t find the entrance and wandered in by the back door. Didn’t have to pay for entrance. Felt guilty so bought gorgeous overpriced hand paintings of landscapes done by an artist using just his fingers and hand as a brush.
Lots of nice stuff in giftshop but overpriced and felt wrong to haggle with monastery.
Nice guy gave us a short tour of place, but we’d already seen some of the room, but he kinda insisted we see them again. Lol.
Afterwards, we grabbed cab to the alleged friendship store. Except it turned out to be the Peninsula hotel. We went inside and asked and the front desk explained it was the friendship store but it closed. So did the one on Jinjiang. The only one open is out in Hong qiao. He went on to say now that China more open friendships stores are gone.
Ofc, one guidebook mentioned it, and I also found the Beijing Lu address online. This is a mega frustration about Shanghai. Guidebooks seem to be outdated the minute they are printed. And the Internet is woefully out of date and useless.
I explained we wanted to pick up a nice piece of jade for 800 yuan. He smiles, you can buy jade anywhere. I said yes, but no idea if real. He says go to jewelry stores but it’s much more expensive than my price.
Crazy since I paid $50 13 years ago for my piece. Look I’ll believe prices have doubled or tripled but the going rates we’ve seen in stores is 10s of thousands of yuan. That’s just absurd.
So we hit Subway for sandwiches. Then 18 on the bund for toilets. As we start to head out the grey skies split open to torrential downpours, lightning and thunder claps. We linger inside for half an hour until rain slows down. We browse in every store that is completely beyond our budgets and resort to taking pictures of this crazy bunny statue.
We walk toward subway. I’m not feeling well, so we head back to hotel and I nap for 3 hours. OL slips into sleep too.
Then we go to dinner at restaurant.