- 9/4/2007 11:53 PM ET
With your declaration in an earlier installment to visit China yearly, you are going to be an old pro at all of this! Loved that you hit the desserts in mid-stream. Why not? :)
Jesse and Iris were taking Dave’s mom and dad sightseeing in their car. They were going to drive by many of the sights since they didn’t feel up to walking around much. Also they were going to the Great Wall. After that they were going to eat at a vegetarian restaurant. Dave’s mom and dad are vegetarians. We invited Iris and Jesse to have breakfast with us at the hotel first.
Kilah, Judah, Dave and I decided to go to the Temple of Heaven. It was actually a series of ancient buildings in a park like setting. The buildings were beautiful as usual but it had a more museum quality than a holy atmosphere. No one was praying or burning incense. There were no Buddha’s either. From the biggest building in the middle you could walk up to the top and have a nice view. For some reason nothing there moved me. I think I was expecting too much from the Temple of Heaven. Something like a spiritual experience. It was also a very hot day and I was tired of seeing ancient buildings. We didn’t even go to all the buildings.
Kilah and I decided we wanted to go to the pearl market. The rest of the group went there another day. We knew Judah would not enjoy it so we got Dave to take Judah with him. The pearl market is like a big indoor flea market. You can buy pearls, but I wouldn’t trust the quality. There are knockoff handbags, silk clothing and other silk items. And everything is cheep if you know how barter well. I do not like to barter. I found some silk Chinese costume wine covers that I thought were cute. I bartered down to one American dollar, which I thought was a good price and my daughter thought I paid too much. I also got a silk table runner for only three dollars. I got a pretty silk jacket for twenty dollars. I got a handbag for ten dollars. The sales people are very aggressive and I have trouble saying no to them. They are also very sweet. I usually end up saying “I like you, ok” and buy the item. It is hard for me to walk away from them.
My daughter has no trouble walking away. She was looking at some handbags and trying to barter them down. She spent a long time at this one stand and then ended up leaving. The girl grabbed her to bring her back and she got angry and said let go of me. I told her it was her own fault because she was leading the girl on.
We went to get a cab and one of the black ones offered to take us to our hotel for a high price. We decided to get away from the Pearl Market to find a cheaper cab. We crossed the street and walked around and then waved down a cab. We got in and the driver looked at our address and motioned no, he could not take us. That was the second time we got kicked out of a cab in China. We were trying to figure out where we were and where our hotel was and if it was walking distance when we found a cake shop. We were hot and tired again and I needed my Coke fix. We ordered a desert to share and immediately ordered another. We tried to get directions from the guy working the counter. We showed him the map from our hotel and he motioned to us the direction we should go. We got another desert to share. The air-conditioned bakery was like an oasis and we were in no hurry to go outside again.
We decided to find a cab again. We finally got one and I’m glad we did because it would have been a long walk back to our hotel.
When we got back to the hotel we rested for a while. Then Kilah and I decided we wanted to try the Italian restaurant Dave’s family went to a couple of nights ago. It was another cab ride to get there. Dave decided to get fast food by the hotel because he doesn’t like Italian food. The food was just ok. Not as good as Olive Garden which I had been craving.
We went back to the hotel and Dave’s sisters and Dave were in the bar. I sat down with them. I don’t usually drink but I did order a Strawberry Daiquiri. It was not what I expected. It tasted like strawberry pop with alcohol in it. I don’t like the taste of alcohol so I gave it to Dave and ordered an orange juice. I was even tired of Coke by then.
Jesse and Iris came back and wanted to take us out to some bars in a lake area. They said it was very scenic. I was tired and was just as happy to stay right where I was but Jesse convinced us all to go except Dave’s mom and dad who were tired from their busy day. Jesse said it was even ok for Judah to go. There was no one to watch him at he hotel so he had to come along or one of us would have to stay home.
One group had to take a cab with Jesse. Kilah, Judah, Dave and I rode with Iris. It was a very busy area and Iris parked her car in front of a restaurant and someone came out and it was apparent that they were arguing with her. She said they told her she couldn’t park there. She moved her car one space over and I asked her if the space belonged to that restaurant. She said no but the person told her if someone wanted to eat at that restaurant they would have nowhere to park.
We went down an alley and some streets lined with shops selling the same stuff we’d seen all week. There were canals and bridges and we went to a bar with a spiral staircase that led to a roof with seating. It was very scenic and cool up there but also crowded. There were some people by us smoking a hookah. Kilah said she thought was not a good environment for Judah. I found out later that she thought there was marijuana in the hookah, but it was just tobacco. Judah was also very tired so I volunteered to take him back to the hotel. Dave agreed to go with us. We let Kilah stay with the young people. It was not my kind of scene.
We found an American kids movie on TV and let Judah watch it in bed until he fell asleep and we fell asleep not long after.
Tips from a weary traveler:
Do not barter with any intention to buy. The clerks are trying to make a living and you do not have to make a killing
When you get lost which you probably will look for a sweet oasis
Don’t expect the food at an Italian restaurant in China to taste like Olive Garden
If you’re tired and just want to relax in the bar at the hotel it’s ok
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