Last night we explored a popular area near our hotel, Wangfujde Street. There is a market that is open every evening around 4pm. If you are brave there’s some very interesting foods you can try.
We like to try new things but we are not that adventurous!
Today, our second day in Beijing, we visited Tainanmen Square and the Forbidden City. Today was rainy and cold (in the 50’s) so according to our guide it was not crowded.
This was taken just inside the Forbidden City. This picture does not big to capture how many people were there. There were thousands more people behind us and more beyond this point. I can’t imagine it on a nice, sunny day.
The Forbidden City was the home to the emperor and gets its name because it was forbidden to commoners. According to our guide it has 8,704 rooms. You can only see portions of the city. And because of the crowds, the cold, and the rain, it felt like we saw very little. It was an interesting place to visit but unfortunately we could not truly appreciate what we saw because of the amount of people pushing their way through. I honestly can’t tell you much about it.
After lunch we visited a silk factory where we saw how silk was made from silk worms. It was really pretty fascinating.
After a full day of traveling and two full days of sightseeing we were exhausted.
This evening we headed out to dinner with another couple from our group. We went to Quanjude Roast Duck to try the famous Peking Duck. We attempted to go last night but after several minutes of our server pointing at Chinese characters than pointing to pictures and having no clue what we should order, we left. After getting a suggestion from our guide and convincing another couple to join us we tried again. The Peking Duck was delicious but our dinner experience was quite comical. Greg was able to order by pointing at pictures in the menu. Several times the servers would look at us and smile; they were definitely talking about the crazy Americans. The server brought out the vegetables first. After eating a few vegetables the server came and took our chopsticks. We thought maybe she thought we weren’t eating well with them but then she brought us each another set. We were so confused but later realized we were given fresh chopsticks because we would be eating off shared plates. Next, she brought out the duck on a couple of plates along with something that looked like thin pancakes or tortillas. We call kind of just stared. Finally the server came over, took my chopsticks, grabbed one of the pancakes, filled it with sauce and duck, and then folded it up. We felt silly but it was worth it because it was delicious.
We laughed throughout the entire meal, the server couldn’t understand us and we had no idea what we was going on. As we left, one of the guys next to us grabbed Greg and took a selfie with him. It was a first but probably not the last time it will happen while we are here. As we stepped onto the elevator to leave the restaurant a Chinese family with a 1-2 year old daughter stepped on as well. The little girl kept looking at the four of us like she’d never seen a white person before and perhaps she had not. The father starting laughing hysterically when he realized that she was staring at us. We are definitely in a foreign country!
Tomorrow we fly to Nanjing to prepare to meet Emily. We won’t meet her until Monday afternoon though.