‘Nothing in China is what it seems’

So the Korean food we ended up having was insane. Although me and G definitely ordered way too much. We pretty much left a whole Miso Soup and half a Kimchi Soup also. I wasn’t expecting the portions to be so big for how cheap each dish was! Here is the photo of our meal that with a beer each costs us £13

I can’t explain how much of a relief it has been to wake up to sun every morning. Even though it’s not particularly warm it still gives you that motivation to explore the outdoor sites and attractions.

It was Sunday. I associate Sunday’s with eating good food, going for a brisk walk and being surrounded my nature. Unless I’m hungover in which case I associate it with bad food, lots of sleep and being surrounded by my duvet. Luckily we werent hungover so we studied our map of Beijing and chose a couple of parks to visit. The first Park we went to was Beihai Park, only 3 metro stops away after a quick change. Like a lot of parks and gardens in Beijing you do have to pay to enter them. Beihai was no different and it cost us 50p each to enter the gates. As we entered we were greeted by a glistening lake, the sun beaming off of it forcing you to cover your eyes. 

Walking around the circumference of the lake was the first time I had felt what rural or the natural side of China is like. Even though we were in central Beijing. We crossed a small bridge to Qiongdao Island passing Yong An monastery. The island was heaving with tourists visiting the ancient Pagodas, locals playing chess and others drinking tea outside of one of the main tea houses. We continued walking as the wind began to pick up to the point of our faces being unbareably cold, we hadn’t felt cold like this since Moscow. 

After exiting the Beihai Park gates we headed back into the direction of Berhai North Metro station. Attempting to try and find HouHai lakes, three bodies of water that were supposed to be great. Luckily I vaguely remembered the route to get there from studying Apple Maps previous in the day. If I hadn’t done that we would never of found it, twisting and turning though a variety of Hutongs, being pestered by Rick shaw drivers we found our way and saw the water. If anyone decides to ever go to HouHai lakes don’t turn left when you reach the water like me and Georgia did. There is literally nothing there just run down buildings and dirt. We had heard of a bustling bar scene which played loud music and was like a constant party, all we found was a coffeehouse which charges £4.50 for a latte. That is extortionate in Beijing, even it England to be fair. We bit the bullet and ordered one each anyway and couldn’t understand where we had gone wrong. We halve hazardly strolled further around the lake where we saw some actual humans! There was an excercise park we had some fun on and as we trodded on further we started to here a distant bass, thumping faintly. Alas we reached the bar street, a conglomerate of roof top terraced bars, eateries, touts shouting ‘happy hour, happy hour’ and people enjoying themselves. We had a good time but couldn’t justify staying there for too long. It must of been an area for middle class natives and short staying tourists because the drinks were expensive, about £4 for a 330ml of 3.6% Budweiser. We cut our losses and headed back to our hostel.

A topic i’d like to talk about now is food, again. Last night we went out for dinner with an Australian, 2 Canadians, a Russian, a Chilean annnddd..a girl from Margate. Anyway 5/8 of us (including me and Georgia) said that the majority of the time I don’t know maybe 90-95% we were vegetarians. However, regardless of strict moral values, a desire to keep the body pure and meat free it is near enough impossible to be vegetarian (let alone vegan) in China. The Chinese don’t actually have a translatable word for vegetarian and you can see why. Miso soup has sheep (I’m not sure what) parts in it, a plain and simple egg fried rice has beef strips in it and so on. You may just be thinking just ask for no meat? It’s really not that simple, communicating even if you’re pronociating words correctly is difficult, they really struggle to understand western dialect and our poor Chinese accent, so much so that when asking where the toilet is the way I’ve found easiest to be understood is to wiggle my little finger in a flaccid manner, it works though! Anyway the point of this drawn out story is that 5/8 vegetarians from around the world admit that when in China your vegetarianism just goes out the window. Of course we all try to order vege food, but if I could describe my Chinese experience so far in once sentence, it would be ‘nothing in China is what it seems’.


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