Sunday, April 21, 2013
Sunday in Beijing 4/21
After a great nights sleep in the wonderfully soft bed here in our guesthouse, we had our usual breakfast at the guesthouse, and left for our walk to the subway about 9:30.
We’ve been “saving” most of the big historical sights for a weekday visit in an attempt to avoid the big weekend crowds, so today we planned to visit a big hutong market and do some shopping at the Pearl Market. It was still crazy crowded!
On the way to the subway--apple seller:
Smoggy again today--the view from the over pass:
A small "farmer's market" near the subway:
Vendors on their way to work:
Crazy crowded subway this morning:
We’d planned our subway routes out before we left, but still had a little trouble finding the hutong market. We walked several blocks out of the way, only to find that it was right across from the station. No English signage makes navigation a little bit difficult!
The Nanluoguxiang Market is an interesting area--it’s a very large old hutong still filled with many residents, but also has some restored areas with some fun shops. There is a pretty park like area at the main entrance, nicely landscaped, with new bridges crossing a canal. It was described as “the hippest hutong in Beijing”. There’s even a Starbucks, which is not necessarily a good thing! It was pretty much wall to wall crowds on the main lanes, but we still enjoyed strolling along, popping into a few shops and people watching. Lots of food options--none of which looked very appetizing. We wandered around the maze of lanes for a couple of hours, finally coming out the other side on a main road. We walked along the main road full of bars and music shops, and then turned down a small hutong lane and wandered the tiny alleyways until we came back to the main lane.
Pretty canal and bridges outside the hutong:
Courtyard restaurant in the hutong:
Yes, there's even a Starbucks:
Rickshaw ride? No thanks:
By now we were ready to sit and rest our feet, so we chose a small pub restaurant, and had pizza and beer for lunch--our first non-Chinese meal in over 3 weeks! Oh, it was good to sit down--I think my poor feet and legs are just worn out with all this walking and climbing!
We love this menu cover:
Pizza for lunch, and David being silly:
After our wonderful rest, good cold beer and “just OK” pizza (but it was about what we expected), we found our way out of the hutong and back to the subway station. Next stop: The Pearl Market!
What a mad-house this place is--crazy, crazy, crazy! There are 5 floors of shopping, each floor having different goods--everything from clothes, shoes, souvenirs, electronics and pearls. Oh--don’t forget the “genuine Rolex” watches! It was a constant barrage of yelling vendors trying to get our attention--some even grabbing our arm! We made our way right up to the upper floors where the pearl shops were located, it was only slightly less hectic there, but I wandered the maze of pearl vendors. They do have some lovely, gorgeous pearls--every size, shape and color imaginable. We looked briefly at pearls on the 5th floor--beautiful but waaaay out of my budget in the several hundreds of US dollars! We went back down to the 4th floor (the higher the floor the higher the quality and prices) and found a lovely strand of big pearls for my sister-in-law Cheryl--hope she likes them! I bargained a bit, and paid half the originally asking price, which seemed about right. I might go back later in the week (if I can drag David there!) to buy some for myself.
After that crazy shopping experience we were just plain worn out! We walked a couple of blocks to the subway and made our way back to our guesthouse, where we settled in for the night. No dinner for us tonight--we’re too tired to even go out to eat. David ate a bag of peanuts and drank a beer, and I had some Lay’s Potato Chips and a Coke Zero!
Early to bed tonight--our last night to seep on this cloud like soft mattress!
Tomorrow in Beijing: We’ll check out of our guesthouse and take a taxi over to our new “digs” near The Forbidden City. After check in, we’re hoping to wander around The Forbidden City.