Got a late start again today, as there wasn’t much on my agenda. It was sooo nice to sleep in. I feel as though I was sleeping off some jet-lag from Singapore. I’m not looking forward to finding out how the 14 hour flight back in time to Newark is gonna hit me jet-lag-wise.
Went with Tammy to the Chabad house in Beijing where we ate falafel. I’m a pretty adventurous eater, but the food here has been a little too much even for my tastes, so it was nice to have something I recognized.
Then it was off to the Summer Palace, which was far away from where we were and very beautiful. We passed the Olympic Village on our way there, which I saw on a map was on the far north end of the city. I stuck my head out the window and tried to take a photo.
The Summer Palace was where China’s royalty used to spend a lot of their time when not ruling in the Forbidden City. It’s up on a hill with some incredible views. Apparently, it’s known for its gardens and grounds. The lake around around the palace was frozen… and there were people ice-skating on it! It was sunset and there was this cold, crisp atmosphere on the palace as the sun set into the cloudy skies. It was pretty freezing.
I was glad I had invested in my silly-looking coat with the eskimo hoodie.
After some exploring, it was back to our hotel district… but first we had to conquer the challenge of finding a cab back to civilization. The cabbies at the exit wanted to charge us a flad (expensive) rate and we wanted them to put the meter on. Eventually, we hailed a cab.
It’s funny, triying to get something done in this city in which I don’t speak the language is like being sent on a wild scavenger hunt looking for an outcome I’m not even sure of. Before hailing a cab, we asked for a karaoke place at a little cafe where a group of asian tourists had come to eat. I asked the tour guide where to go. He called information and wrote down a place in chinese. When we got the cab, we pointed to the place. Then we changed our mind and said we wanted to go to the hotel. He seemed to tell us “no,” so we figured wherever he takes us, we’ll just get out there. We also needed an ATM. Luckily, someone had written down “ATM” for me the previous day in chinese, so I was able to communciate that. Surprisingly, we got around ok. The driver let us off at a karaoke place close to our hotel.
We walked back to the hotel. I was really excited for Allison to meet us. I went down to the internet in the lobby… and she arrived shortly after that! She put her stuff down in the room. Tammy decided to stay in for the rest of the night, so the two of us were off… to sing karaoke!
It was the coolest little place. What made it so cool, was that we were both so into it. We did it totally asian-style; it was a place called “Party Time KTV” with its own private karaoke rooms and a buffet. We quickly learned the system and sang every pop song we could find! We got so into it, we added an extra hour onto our time. Allison was worried we’d lose our voices… and then we both agreed that if we did, it would be totally worth it!
Okay, it might be cold here, but I’m feeling really good right now. We’re off to see the Great Wall tomorrow…