Today was a social day. I was going out for a walk, when I ran into the two Canadians that I met yesterday. They wanted to come along with me, so we went out looking for the Beihai Lakes. I didn’t bother to bring my map with me, instead relying on my sense of direction to get us there. Consequently, it took us several hours to find the place, which looked like it was about a 20 minute walk away from the hostel. We had fun though. We stopped at a basement food court and had a hot pot lunch. The menu was entirely Chinese, so I tried to order by pointing to things on the advertising posters around the restaurant. That didn’t really work. In the end, two girls who were studying English came over and helped translate. We ended up with a massive meal of various meats and vegetables to cook in our hot pot. While we were eating, we could hear the girls who had helped us giggling because they had just invented the word, “Chinglish.” Cute!
After lunch, we walked for another hour or so, and eventually stumbled upon the Beihai Lakes. That was a relief, since it was getting embarrassing to be leading these two girls on a wild goose chase around the Chinese capital.
The lakes area was beautiful, consisting of traditional gardens and parks, pagodas, and residences of historical figures. We rented a boat with an electric motor for about 60 yuan/hour and toured around the lake.
After returning the boat, we walked through the park, and out the gate that I’d been looking for on the way in. Yup. Turns out it was a 20 minute walk back to the hostel from there!
For dinner, we decided to go for Beijing’s famous Peking Duck. We hopped in a cab and went to a restaurant in the west end of the city. The duck was delicious.
Basically, you take pieces of duck, dip them in a hoisin sauce, and wrap them in these paper-thing pancakes with shallots and cucumber slivers. The whole meal, including duck, garnishes, and a lot of beer, came to about $60. That’s steep for a meal in Beijing, but well worth it, I think.
Anyway, I’m going to call it a night. Tomorrow is my last day in Beijing. My flight to Huang Shan leaves tomorrow evening at 6:30pm.