It’s been a long day! I started shooting around 9:30 this morning, and just got back now. It’s just after midnight and I’m ready to finally pack it in. This was my full day in China, and I felt rewarded with this gorgeous weather. After I shot those blue sky photos from the previous entry, Dad and I departed to explore the city a bit. We hit a hutong neighborhood, which is a classic Chinese residential area built in a series of alleys. I’m caught off guard by things that make perfect sense to the very pragmatic Chinese, like a leg of pork hanging to dry with the laundry. I mean, why not?

We wandered for hours, eventually finding ourselves in a major tourist area and then at a bus stop. After studying the various out-of-date maps posted for everyone’s inconvenience, we worked out how to get back to the hostel on the bus. I find these little adventures to be rewarding.

Dinner tonight was Peking duck. No visit to Beijing would be complete without the city’s famous roast duck recipe. The food was so good last night that we decided to eat at the same restaurant again. The chef and owner of this restaurant clearly appreciates that having good Chinese food doesn’t mean you need to have a dismal dining experience to go along with it. The presentation and service were top-notch, and the price was very reasonable. There was even a dude who stood by our table and patiently wrapped and served us the traditional “duck burritos” that are an essential part of the Peking duck experience. I remembered to bring my camera this time. No, the wriggling still-alive scorpion skewers are not from our dinner. They were from a local street-food market. I was gratified to note that everyone, including domestic Chinese tourists seemed grossed out by the scorpions.

Immediately after dinner, I set out to the Olympic park to try again at shooting the “Birds Nest” stadium and “Water Cube” aquatics centre. This time, I had better luck and managed to score a few shots of these iconic structures. That’s good, because between walking and the subway, it’s about two hours each way to get to the Olympic park.

Now it’s time for bed. I’m leaving for Bangkok tomorrow. More thoughts about China later.