Tuesday, July 22, 2008

China in Review - The Empress Has Returned

Thursday:

Arrived and decided to JUMP.RIGHT.IN.

We walked along the backroads and alleys of the hutongs. I was already pumped as I was hoping we would see these very old little communities that are old Beijing. Grabbed some beers out of this alley shop (cooler behind us, for the US equivalent of 25 cents) and tried to teach some Chinese guys how to take our picture. I start to realize just how damn hot it is going to be here... and then went to Dali Courtyard for a traditional chinese dinner (within a hutong). Then off to Houhai for drinks and a fruity icy dessert (a lake area filled with bars and restaurants that was quite busy and bopping).





Friday:
Hopped on the subway to Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) -- where there were a bunch of performers singing peking opera, playing instruments, paddling balls, playing hacky sack. Many senior citizens hang out here and we enjoyed watching them. Lunch at a Yunnan restaurant (big bowls of soup noodles). On to the Llama Temple with lots of incense and a really really big 5 story buddah. I decide make up is pretty much a lost cause as it is so incredibly hot! Cold drink at another hutong restaurant, The Vineyard Cafe. Then went to Rumi Grill (persian food) for dinner with friends. Out for a drink at Face Bar (cool asian decorated place where I tested my newly acquired scotch drinking). Foot massages followed somewhere around 11:30pm!! (the very relaxed photo!)




Saturday:
The smog cleared to a beautiful day and we headed to the Great Wall (mutianyu portion). It was spectacular!!! Can't say enough about this unbelievable feat at the top of mountains. Pics with some sort of Chinese warrior. Also some funny Chinese guys were posing all over the wall. One time they gave us the Olympic rings - very cute! Late lunch at the School House outdoors. You can sketch on the placemats, I tried to sketch the view above the roof of the Wall. Nails done later at Yashow - great 6 story shopping center where bargaining is expected. Sushi at Hatsune for dinner--YUM! Then to a friend's house for rooftop drinks.




Sunday:

Panjiayuan (the outdoor dirt market) for shopping and bargains. Drove by the olympic venues (Bird's Nest (national stadium for opening ceremonies and track), water cube for swimming, saw the marathon route, soccer stadium, etc), and went to the Summer Palace. Then we went to Yashow again to shop. Korean BBQ for dinner--cook your own meat on a grill in the middle of the table.


The Big Shorts

Monday:

Flew from Beijing to Shanghai for brunch at M on the Bund (took in the skyline). We were quite the hit with several Chinese men who wanted their picture with foreigners -- this happened quite a bit actually! Hopped on an afternoon flight to Hong Kong via Shenzhen. Went to an Italian dinner around central/soho on Hong Kong Island. We grabbed some late night drinks at Lan Kwai Fong and rode out a thunderstorm.





Tuesday:
Ate delicious bolobaos (pineapple buns) for breakfast from a local bakery. Walked around the outdoor market of meat, fish, veggies and fruit. Took the tram up to Victoria Peak and spectacular views of Hong Kong Island. We had a dim sum lunch (small portions in baskets--like tapas) and gelato while on the peak. We decided to do a last minute trip via ferry to Macau - an island off Hong Kong that is the Vegas of the Orient. Saw the remains of St. Paul's Cathedral and the fort next door called Forataleza do Monte. We had to have a McDonald's cheeseburger to see if tasted like home - yep! Walked around the Venetian -- looks just like Vegas! Headed back to HK island where we went to Peak Cafe for drinks and snacks.






Wednesday:
Waited for a fresh batch of bolobaos from our favorite little bakery. Went to Stanley Market to shop/lunch with our host's Auntie Elizabeth at the Stonehouse and enjoyed the beach side of town. Auntie is an absolute doll. Caught our flight back to Beijing and headed straight to another midnight massage! free snacks and drinks :) And yes, they are tres cheap. (mani/pedi was around $18; 1.5hr foot/leg massage around $12; 2hr deep tissue full body around $17; facial with massage around $12 - although these are from memory...)




Thursday:

Big white girl causing a scene while she ran and took pictures!! Brunch at Alameda in the hutongs (some sort of fusion). Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and then Jinshan Park (which overlooks the entire city). Took the empress photos here :D. Went to the acrobatic show...then facials for 1.5 hours that somehow involve your entire body...then dim sum somewhere around midnight!!


Friday:

Peking duck for lunch. Went down Wangujing (pedestrian street) where the flagship Olympics store is (ginormous)...and food street. Michele and Derek ate a scorpion or two, Nancy could not bring herself to the task. Last minute shopping then dinner at Serve The People --thai food. Then we decided to give it one last hurrah and do a pub crawl--Cocomo (the rooftop bar where the table next to us offered us cake), Black Sun Bar, Block 8 (very fancy mirror hallway, tres upscale - I felt totally ancient!).




Saturday:

Ate at Xiao Wang's (chinese food) in Ritan Park. Off to the airport and back to the real world!


43 comments:

E said...

Love the pictures! It looks like you had so much fun and an amazing trip! We missed you! :)

Topher said...

Utterly jealous, and thanks for all the pictures! I get urked when bloggers say "Oh, goodness me, I'm going off to a far-away destination that'll be totally amazing" and then not post any pictures. You rock more than them!

Marcy said...

Ooooo Nanc!!! How awesome!! And of COURSE you ladies would be a hit with the Chinese men, Raaawwwrrr. So jealous!! Looks like such a great time.

I'm glad you're back though, I missed you :-(

Jamie said...

Wow! What a freaking awesome experience!!! Looks like so much fun - so jealous ;) But welcome back home!

C said...

Simply amazing! Fantastic pics! I am so glad you had such a wonderful time.

Shelley said...

I've missed you! Glad you are back...looks like you had such a great time. What an experience!

Where to next?

Kevin said...

Great pics. Other then the smog, it loks like a great time

Sonia said...

Some spectacular pics in there Nancy!! Sounds like the trip of a lifetime, the Great Wall of China is so impressive, even on the screen. Very jealous of you girlfriend! Especially all these spa treatments for so cheap!!!

Viv said...

I was LMAO at some sort of Chinese warrior. The pictures of the Great Wall, Shanghi, and the Olympic venue so cool! I love that you got the cheap massags...I bet they were fantastic. I so happy you had a wonderful time, hun you deserve it. Missed you around these parts! I loved the day by day recaps...

Anonymous said...

First of all you look absolutely amazing! No scorpions for you?

Seriously it sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Love the guys doing the Olympic rings.

akshaye said...

Awesome pictures! You had a blast! Welcome back :)

Michelle said...

OMG, what a great vacation!!! I am super jealous!

Glad you're back!

Michelle said...

Nancy, WOOHOO!! Amazing photos and sounds like you guys had a terrific time!! Did you get any running time in? If not, big deal you had a great time!! Back to the real world my dear!!! Glad your home safe!

DawnB said...

just beautiful looks like you had a great time.

Mendy said...

Oh. My. Goodness! What a great time you look and sounded like you had. Those pics are amazing!!! Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us.

ws said...

thanks for the photo tour and vacation summary. I'm totally jealous of your trip...

Unknown said...

Great photos. You saw a lot while you were there!!

Lily on the Road said...

Oh Nancy, I'm soooo glad you had such a wonderful time! Making memories, not only for you but for ME too! Love the pictures and the "running" commentary!!

Glad you are home safe and sound, now get blogging!! LMAO...

Seriously, would love to hear more about the trip!!! Take care.

MissAllycat said...

WOW - what an amazing trip. Great pictures - looks like you had a blast.

Laura said...

Wow, that looks amazing! The cheap massages alone have sold me :)

The Young Family said...

Wow - what a great post of all the fun stuff you saw and did!! A group of ladies from my tri team,want to do the marathon that is along the Great Wall in a few years.... I think that would be a trip of a lifetime. sounds like yours was too!

Glad you had fun! Cheap massages would be amazing and at 11:30pm, too cool!

Em

Bob A said...

We missed you online. Sounds like a really fun trip. I've wanted to go to China since high school, xx years ago.

Christie said...

Aww, I'm jealous. Looks like you had a great time. Love the pics.

The Laminator said...

Welcome back, Nancy! Wow, those pictures are amazing. I've been to some of those places, so just seeing them brings back memories...

Amy said...

Wow! Great pics, love hearing about it - seems so totally different to anything in US/Europe. I hope to go east some day!

Cyberpenguin said...

You are so lucky to be in China for the Olympics! Wow!

RunningNan said...

WOw. I felt like for a moment I was there! Glad you had a great time!

jahowie said...

Great pictures!! Thanks for the report and the awesome pics!! I'm glad that you are back, we missed you around here.

RunMama said...

That is totaly awesome! Those are memories of a lifetime. Thank you for sharing.

P.O.M. said...

That sounds incredible! Looks like you gals had so much fun. It's awesome when you have a traveling buddy who likes to get out do see everything! Love the pics.

sRod said...

What a trip! I am throughly jealous! Glad to have you back.

Jess said...

Looks like an AMAZING trip Nanc!

Running Ragged said...

Welcome back! :) Great pictures. I am envious!

Bev said...

Wow! What a treat to see those pictures. I loved the trip recreation. Sounds like you had a crazy good time. What cool memories.

Robert Barker said...

great travel journal, Nancy.

Sarah Kathryn said...

AMAZING. You looked like you were having the time of your life! What a fun group of girls!

Welcome home - I'm glad you got that opportunity and that you got to seize it!!!!

Stuart said...

Very cool, looks like you had an amzing time, China is an amazing place.

Anonymous said...

Those are beautiful photos and that looks like a pretty excellent adventure. I've never been to Hong Kong--now I want to go.

The Chinese love them some blondes!

Scott McMurtrey said...

i'm so amazingly jealous! looks like you had a wonderful time. great photos. i want to go very bad. :)

and i did see your trail run post before i took off last month. you rock!

RunnerGirl said...

Looks like you had an amazing time!

Susan said...

WOW!!!!

Sunshine said...

Thanks for the marvelous pictures.. especially liked the food, architecture, and photo subjects hamming it up for the camera.
What a trip! Lucky you. Glad it went so well, was so fun.

Unknown said...

What a fantastic trip! It looks like you guys had a blast. I LOVE all the photos!!!

Welcome back!