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Days 34 & 35 Beijing

July 2, 2011
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June 29, 2011 (Wednesday)

Thirty-fourth day in China, second day in Beijing: hutong cafes, French dinner

Hung out in my hosts’ apartment where we ate lunch and talked about Japanese music. I took the train into Beijing without knowing much where to go, but with an intention to find a cafe. I got off at the 雍和宫 Yonghegong (or the “Lama Temple”) and crossed the street. The entrance to a hutong was choked with dust and paved with dirt. Workers were repairing something. I passed into the hutong and found many cafes full of foreigners. I turned into another hutong, and onthe street corner found a cafe. Almost all the customers were foreigners. The Japanese couple next to me talked about literature. I drank a mint lassi.

Joy and I planned a trip to 青海 Qinghai, a region in west China. The main destination will be 敦煌 Dunhuang, in the dunes, once a stop on the Silk Road.

I returned to my hosts’ place around 8pm for dinner. Hanta cooked onions, carrots and lamb in cream, which she told us is a (delicious) typical French food, eaten with rice. My host Liguo and I played Winning 11 and Dead Rising 2 on PS3, and watched One Piece and True Grit.

KM

June 30, 2011 (Thurdsay)

Thirty-fifth day in China, third day in Beijing: 前门街 Qianmian Street, 北海公园 Beihai Park, The Veggie Table restaurant

I met Selita, a CouchSurfer from Beijing, at Qianmian station around 2pm. We walked Qianmian street, but the former residences have been transformed into a tourist trap. We visited Beihai Park, home of a lake, a white Buddhist tower, and a restaurant that used to cater to the emperor. Took a boat across the lake. Took a taxi to the Yonghegong, and walked the same alley I happened on the day before, to the Veggie Table, a vegetarian restaurant run by two women that serves very international fare. We were treated to Rooibos tea from South Africa by one of the owners, an American and friend of Selita. I ate a falafel platter. At my hosts’ place we finished True Grit and watched Japanese dramas.

KM

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