Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Peking Duck!

The train journey to Beijing was over 30 hours long. However, we were kept company by our new Mongolian friend, Bayanmunch. He was travelling to Beijing to have a CD made. His girlfriend was a Mongolian opera singer, which is new in the realm of music for Mongolia, and he was the song writer. I guess you could say this was a "new song," not a traditional song or short song.
Caroline and Nick were a couple of rooms down, so we talked to them frequently. We met for drinks and breakfast the following day.
The border crossing was a breeze, because we slept through the majority of it. I guess we were still tired from our excursion.
As you cross the border into China, you are taken away by the beautiful landscape of the rocky mountains and perfectly shaped tress. Everything here is a very luscious and bright green. As we approach closer to Beijing, you start to see small rivers engraved between mountains and rich forest land. Also, we had the luxury of witnessing small parts of the Great Wall. This was a spectacular sight as we knew we were going to step foot on this great wonder.
We arrived in Beijing around 2pm and said our good-byes to Caroline and Nick. We hoped to meet up with them later in the city.
We made our way to the hostel via metro and rickshaw. Jay was very good at negotiating the price. But, later we find out that taking a taxi is much cheaper. Actually, we mostly walked everywhere unless we were with friends.
We explored the streets in an attempt to find something for dinner. We stumbled upon Wangfujing Dajie, which is a posh area lined with huge shopping malls. On this street, we found a restaurant called Quanjude Roast Duck. Here they specialized in Peking duck, given the region. We ordered a half duck with pancakes, scallions, garlic, celery, and sauce. You use these ingredients to create somewhat of a wrap. This meal was definitely an interesting and wonderful experience. After dinner, we roamed the area of the Wangfujing Snack street. Walking upon this area you are presented with an ornate archway outlined with bright colors of red, blue, green, and yellow. The street is lined with restaurants and street vendors bursting with character and flavor. Here you will find an array of food, like fried scorpions on a stick, candied fruit on a stick, and many noodle dishes. The vendors constantly try to solicit tourists by using the only English they know, "Hello, do you like?". If you seemed interested, they they would attempt to negotiate with you. We strolled back to the hostel and went to sleep with a full belly of roasted duck.

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