Beijing: Week 4

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Beijing: Week 4

Sun, food, hutongs, and my best friend...

It's been a month in China already. Time flies, sure, sure, but I've been keeping busy. Well, not at work, because that's a different story. In Beijing, however, I am making sure I don't waste any time trying out new things, and last week I did pretty well.

With beautiful weather and smog-free skies, I devoted Thursday and Friday, technically my weekend, to exploring. I booked a food tour through Airbnb Experiences with Danny, a longtime resident of Beijing who knew his stuff. He walked me through a typical Beijing street lined with eateries that I would never have gone into myself.

Dumplings and (gulp) pig liver soup...

We had dumplings with pig liver soup. We moved on to a sort of pulled pork sandwich with sesame noodles. Afterwards, it was all about the donkey burger. Yes, donkey, the animal. Think Shrek. It is a gourmet item here, fried up with green peppers, and likely one of the better things I have eaten so far.

Donkey burger!!!!

We wrapped it up with some green bean soup, a sort of peasant dish, and two sweets. The pea yellow cake (awkward name) was soft and confusing while the sesame cake hovered in brownie territory, and I was a happy diner. It was a great two-hour introduction to the city, and the price is absolutely fantastic for the experience. On top of that, Danny has some fun stories as well as other experiences that he offers. Don't expect a play-by-play of China's history, but more of a relaxed set of meals with a friend who happens to know a thing or two about what you're eating.
A best day ever...

Afterwards, I strolled by the lakes, fighting every urge to return home and take a nap after all of that food. The locals were out in droves, gawking at the impossibly blue sky. I wandered, as I do best, and found my way through some hutongs towards the Forbidden City and back towards the apartment. I logged well over 20,000 steps, though it felt like more.

On Friday, I took it easy, going for a run at the gym, because that is a thing I do now. In the evening, I was invited to give a talk about my writing experiences. It felt good to be in teacher mode again. I wrapped up the evening over a beer with some friends before heading to bed, waking up at 5AM on Saturday for a shift at the office. Fortunately I had enough sun and excitement to get me through a weekend of work. Now let's see what the second month brings...

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