Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reitz's Invade Beijing - Part 2

Tuesday started with an early morning attempt at a Chef Too breakfast, our second failed attempt in three days. Their holiday schedule was not smiling upon us that week. We instead dined outdoors at Water, in Solana. I wouldn't recommend it for the food, but the location was great. We had some friendly neighbors snap this Godfather-esque picture of us.

And we ate overlooking the lake north of Chaoyang park, home to some adorable turtles. Red-Eared Sliders, just like ours. This is in full-out basking mode.

Check out that foot and neck extension!

But the actual destination for the day was Hou Hai and hutongs. I've found the best way to explore the hutongs is by foot or with your own bicycle. But if you're short on time and don't feel like walking much, renting a bike taxi is a great second option. I've already posted a bunch of pictures of the hutongs (lots more here), so here's a few random shots from that day.

The bike taxi experience was interesting though. We haggled pretty hard and got a fair price, but the dude didn't tell us there were extra fees on the tour. Halfway through we were dropped off at an old, museum-like hutong home and it was 20 RMB to get in, per person. We spent about 20 minutes of our one hour tour in there and, sadly, it was underwhelming. After the tour, we explored a bit more on our own. We perused the shopping area and rested in a tea shop to sample a half dozen different varieties.

We then rented a boat for an hour and explored the lake. Therese has long wanted to do this, so she was not shy about volunteering to captain and drive our little ship. Ray said, "Anytime, i'm around water, it feels like a vacation." Glad we were able to give you a little taste of the beach in Beijing.

The bottle neck at the bridge.

Approaching the chaos.

Safely through. Therese navigated that mess like a surgeon.

The night ended with Tuesday night pick-up. Ray joined our game of ultimate and played fantastic for his first time. The rents took a short walk to Deshengmen gate and hung out with the drummers and dancers. It is rumored that mom even joined in for a few measures and showed those old Chinese ladies how a southern girl shakes it. Go mom!


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