Published: May 11th 2009May 2nd 2009
The full egg
Concert Hall in full reflection
The Peking Duck
I had booked a table at a restaurant that served Peking Duck for 7.30pm. We ordered the duck, what the hell, and it was expensive. We tried to work out if there was enough of the duck to feed us both and, needing some vegies anyway, we ordered a plate of sauteed broccoli. Good thing too. A chef appeared and put on a wonderful display of carving the crispy skin and meat off the bird. But what appeared on our table wouldn't satisfy either of us. Glad we ordered the veg. Although it tasted wonderful I won't mention the restaurant (couldn't remember the name if I tried) somewhere near the eastern gate of the Forbidden City. We were still hungry and wondered where the rest of the meal went. We asked an 'almostenglishspeaking' waiter where the duck went. We learned that once the breast and tidbits of other meat was removed the bird goes back to the kitchen to use for making soup. How's that! We didn't even get to touch it and pick the meat off like we would a chicken and they will charge a hefty price for those wanting soup tomorrow. Once we polished off
2 large bottles of beer we felt better and decided to search for the little massage spa we spotted in our travels around town yesterday afternoon.
Found it! 98 yuan for 1 1/2 hours, that's one hour foot massage and 1/2 hour. A bit more exsie than my blind man in Tai'an but it was worth it after the walking over the wall for a couple of hours. It's been a long day and I fell asleep while waiting for David's 2 hour massage to finish. Straight to bed.
Tian'anmen Square, MAOsoleum, Great Hall of the People
Tian'anmen Square is not far from our hotel. So after a leisurely breakfast we strolled through a beautiful park accompanied by a friendly man who chatted with us the whole way. When we turned off to cross under the road he then went in to sell mode for us to come to his store and see the artwork. We are such seasoned travellers that we managed to keep moving and let him down without being rude. That sometimes takes great skill. We arrive across the road and the sheer size of the square is incredible. It is here, the same
road, that I remember the image of the student with his shopping bags standing in front of the tanks. A brief but powerful moment in history.
This square is so huge. It is said to be able to hold 1 million people and on this fine hot public holiday I believe we might have made the quota. Thousands of people lined up to take a very quick glance at Mao, interred at the mausoleum. No one would be able to tell if it was the wax replica or the real stuffed man. But who cares. We decided against the stifling queues and wandered around the square for a while taking pictures of the many people who made the effort to come here. And having pictures taken with the locals. A strange kind of celebrity. Security is tight everywhere. Since the Olympics the xray machines have remained at the train stations and also at the square.
I wanted to see the concert hall. One of the many things on my list. I had seen this on Discovery Channel some months ago and had to see in person. We walked around the massive building that was the Great Hall of
Carving the bird
Peking Duck in Peking
the People and found the 'egg' on the other side. Named the egg because it looks that way with the reflection of the water that entirely surrounds it. See pics. Entrance in is under the water from the northern side.
We head back around the Forbidden City and find the park where the Tulip Festival is held. I honestly didn't know it was here, David doesn't believe me. But we go in for a quick look anyway. Zhongshan Park lies to the south of the entrance to the FC. We didn't stay long and found a pedicab to take us in to the main shopping district just on the other side of the FC. We negotiated 20 yuan for the trip. The driver becomes an actor and says he is working hard to peddle the electric bicycle but most of the time he relies on the battery to get around. We laughed it off. Once we arrive he tells us it is 20 yuan each. Some rude words from him and we walk away. I still only gave him the 20 yuan.
We found a fast food place named Kung Fu with a picture of Bruce Lee covering
a wall. The food was surprisingly good and very cheap. We wandered the back hutong near the main mall to enjoy the atmosphere of the little outdoor restaurants and bits on a stick. We both enjoyed the huge strawberries in toffee. This back street eatery is much cheaper than the Jinyu venue and just as good if not better. There were some Chinese Opera singers standing on the roof of one of the stores giving a free performance for all. Back to the hotel for an early night.
Continued Part 4...
There are more photos below