(View from a traditional tea shop in Beijing)
I recently traveled to Beijing for a weekend to visit a good friend of mine.
Highlights of the weekend:
Highlights of the weekend:
- Seeing my friend of course :-) I have known her since 2007, and haven't seen her since 2008, so it was great to visit!
- Enjoying a bit of cable tv in my hotel room :-) I learned about plastic surgery in China, and caught up on some news.
- Getting lost on our first night searching for a baozi restaurant (and being told by a man who we asked for directions from, "Why do you want to go there? That food isn't good!" As a resident of the province famous for its baozi, I was a little offended)
- Exploring the renovated hutong area in the Dongcheng district that has been turned into an artsy shopping area with S. and her co-worker. We discovered this photography studio: http://pmtphoto.com/ The website doesn't do it justice...I will be returning if I am in Beijing again!
- Discovering that it is a popular hobby to collect matchboxes...I jumped on the bandwagon with this purchase:
- Enjoying a tea house/learning about tea ceremonies (I got a passing grade on my tea performance)
- Being treated to a traditional Beijing dinner (that included some elbows, livers, hearts, and stomach)
- Meeting my friend's family, and adorable little four-year-old cousins who had learned some English songs and sang them for me (and called me Julie Aiyi, so cute. Aiyi "auntie" is what children or younger people will call an older girl).
- Walking in the park...seeing the sun was SUCH a blessing!
- Being treated to Beijing roasted duck at the best Beijing duck restaurant in town...I have to say, it was DELICIOUS! The duck was the best meat I have ever had (of any sort) and the deep-fried tofu was divine. I was too preoccupied with tasting to take photos, sorry! http://quanjude.com.cn/e_about.html
- Seeing the oldest church in Beijing...the foundation was built in 1605, but the current building was built in 1904 (there were several, the previous one was destroyed in the Boxer Rebellion).
- Being told by one of our hosts, Mr. Lee, "You should become a call girl". It took a few minutes of clarification, laughter on mine and my friend's part, and blank stares before we figured out he meant "cowgirl" because I am from Texas. Side note: I have been mistaken for a Russian prostitute before. Thanks. lol
(Jay Chou matchbox collectibles! ha)
- Enjoying the Christmas cups at Starbucks! This is one of the official cues that the Christmas season has started...and I happen to like the slogan this year. :-)
While it was a somewhat exhausting visit, it was super sweet to see my friend and to have the opportunity to explore the place she calls home now. :-) I am blessed.