Monday, February 3, 2014

China: Beijing

^^made all out of Jade^^
^^ the birds nest and water cube, only missed the Olympics by a few years ;]^^
^^ our hostel courtyard ^^
^^crab apples and other fruits covered in sweet glaze^^
^^This print, and only this print of Santa Claus is all over Beijing^^
As I said before, we loved our hostel. When first walking into the courtyard it felt like we had stepped into an old Chinese film. There was a few let backs to the place, like the toilets and shower were on the first floor (we were on the second) outside in the cold. Thank goodness there was hot water or I'm afraid I would have gone 5 days without washing. But when nature called in the middle of the night there were only 2 choices, try and wait till morning or brave the cold walk down stairs. When we did venture out at night, Blake and I both felt like something was creeping around in the shadows. You could film a ninja movie at the place, I tell you. 

While in China we would have loved to go and explore different cities, but with so little time we decided to stay in Beijing. The city has so much to offer, so we were able to fill each day with plenty of activities. And being in a place like China everything was new and exciting. Everywhere we turned there was something reminding us that we were not in America anymore, from the signs on the buildings to the foods in the market. 

We had fun exploring and trying new thing. When walking the streets we would drop into any restaurant and try our best to decipher the menu. The dishes we ate were very similar to USA Chinese food. The meat however was a little less recognizable, forget about skinning and boning the chicken they just chop the whole thing up and serve it fried, or in sauce. Something I found interesting was unsalted peanuts and sunflower seeds were a common appetizer, and instead of serving cold water they would give use hot boiling water in a tea pot to drink. I know I have already said this, but Beijing was holy cold, so hot water was appreciated. There was also yummy weird sweets, like donuts things (sweet ears?), rice cakes, and my favorite were the crab apples covered in sweet glaze. I could have eaten those everyday. 

When people come back from China, many talk about how cheep the shopping is, right? Well, I don't mean to bust your bubble but it is not as cheep as it sounds (Cambodia is where it's at). Plus you have to be really to fight for a good deal. The salesmen are super pushy, there is no such thing as relaxing window shopping, if you walk into or touch something they expect you to buy. But after a little bit we grew thick skin and found it fun getting them down to 1/10 the price of their first offer. It almost became fun, but in no way relaxing. Every time we passed a shop you here, "hey lady, you come here now, I give you fair deal". If you did happen to see something you liked and asked for the price, then left without buying their "lowest offer" they would follow you out the store yelling one of two things, ether bringing the price lower or mean words for being cheep. HA! It is not for the faint of heart. This was mainly at the silk market, and we did leave with bags of good deals. 

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