Today we took the Beijing subway for the first time.
The price of a ticket is a measly 2 Yuan, (0.35 cents)
The first subway we took, felt like a tightly packed sardine box…. It was crowded to capacity, and I vowed to forget “authentic cultural experiences….” and not to take the subway again.
But the connecting subway line, was new, clean and with ample space…. and it made me rethink my decision.
Granted, Taxis around Beijing are very cheap, but you do spend much time sitting in traffic…. Waiting for the light to change…
We walked around Liulichang area, which is a lovely area, reconstructed in the 80’s and done in the architectural spirit of the traditional houses that used to be there.
By now, most of the houses are stores, filled with calligraphy ink, brushes, art the art supplies.
I entered a large book store, and bought some art books…
OK… I admit it…. I actually bought quite a LOT of art books…
My husband Jules complained, saying that we may have a problem with the weight of our bags…
We have more than four local flights coming…. Plus the weight of our bicycles…
But I know that some of these books will NOT be available to buy anywhere outside of China.
In the past, I thought that I will be able to find them… Just pay a much higher price… But it was NOT so… These books simply do NOT get distributed outside of China.
We walked some Hutongs, with great narrow street and markets, selling fresh produce, vendors fixing shoes, others offering street dental treatments…
When it was time for lunch, we took a taxi to a small vegetarian restaurant.
Our taxi dropped us on the main street, and pointed to a narrow alley, where cars are not allowed to enter.
We could not find the place….
I had the name and the address of the restaurant, written in Chinese characters, but nobody knew where it was.
I asked a lovely woman,walking the street with her mother, and she pointed us across the street.
It was not there…we kept on wandering around… Feeling a bit lost.. (we did not have the address written in English…)
When suddenly, the same lovely woman started calling us and waving her hand.
She actually went back to look for us, two blocks away, to guide us and to make sure we found the place.
Such a lovely gesture…. She was our angel…because the restaurant was DEFINITELY worth the effort of looking for it.
The old courtyard had some circular arches and comfortable sittings with book cases filled with Buddhist literature.
The menu had pictures AND English descriptions.
We ordered by the charm of the dishes…
Listen to this:
Stewed pumpkin with fresh lily bulb.
This dish will moisten the lungs and calm the heart, releases heat, and restrain edema.
This pumpkin dish will also help ease hypertension and diabetes conditions.
Steam towel green gourd with a flower of warm grass.
This gourd will cool down the body’s anger and heat,
Will nourish the kidney and liver,
Will reduce blood pressure,
cool down body temperature,
calm down agitation and thirst,
disperse phlegm and coughs.
We also ordered a mock chicken spicy dish and fresh organic salad.
Everything tasted wonderful.
we also ordered some mix green tea, which was served in tiny glass shot bowls.
We spent a long time resting, eating and enjoying the calm, relaxed and friendly atmosphere there.
A long walk took us to the Confucius Temple, and a street filled with vendors selling incense and fake money to burn for good blessings.