Last night was brilliant in a good way not in a shock or surprise wa . Bo a long time acquaintance and all round good friend and his assistant Lucy took us out for a meal at his favourite restaurant. Deb and Sen loved it as the food in this part of China is much less spicy than in Hunan province, they were able to eat everything not just try it and then take a glug of juice to cool their tongues down!
Sennen is amazing everyone with the way he eagerly tries everything (well everything that looks edible, he drew the line at the sea cucumber in Zhuzhou!), he particularly enjoyed the Beijing Duck and the Deep Fried Prawn & Horseradish Sauce Balls.
After dinner Bo took us to one of his Spas where we had the most amazing lavender oil deep massage, it was sensational. If you’re ever in Beijing you have to visit ‘Hummingbird’ Wellness Spa No6 Chaowai Da Jie, Central Park Tower 26, Unit 103 Chaoyang District 100020 Beijing. Tell them Mr Kevin sent you.........It won’t get you a discount but it will present a few minutes of comedy as the lovely staff try to work out what you’re on about!
Today has been spent totally chilling, late breakfast in the executive bar on the top floor, overlooking the Forbidden City! Sen and I took a stroll around, exploring the side streets while Deb went back to bed, then Sen and I had a running vs Cycling race in the gym (first to 5km) he beat me by 15 minutes! It did me good as I ran the 5km in 25minutes which is a personal best! We jumped in the pool then to cool off.
Deb was up and about by the time we got back to the room so we went out for lunch, found a stunning noodle bar that offers the healthiest menu I’ve ever seen. All kinds of lovely fresh veg noodle soups etc.
After lunch we headed off the nearest Hutong, an area of the city where the everyday people of Beijing live within the city’s central district, the fun touristy way to get around is by rickshaw. After negotiating the many touts who approach claiming to be students wanting to practice English who then go on to tempt you to their local art exhibition, we easily found a rickshaw owner who was very eager to take our business ...... huh.... if only I’d thought harder about this........ we set off in two rickshaws as one is not big enough for three people. It was an interesting ride, especially negotiating the traffic before entering the hutong proper.
At tour end the pair of drivers demanded 600RMB for the 20 minute ride! I refused but realised that I was in a situation that would be difficult to negotiate out of, with Deb and Sen with me, and another local had joined in to help, I held out and paid 100 less than they asked. My mistake her was not confirming the price before getting on, a mistake I knew I’d made just after setting off. The tour was fun anyway and we all really enjoyed it.
We walked back to the hotel through the side streets experiencing the lively ‘real’ side of this gigantic metropolis. I’ve chosen the hotel well it is bang in the centre of the city with many of the main tourist destinations within walking distance.
Tomorrow we’re off to the Great Wall and Ming’s Tomb, I CAN NOT wait, it has the potential to be mind blowing as there has been a fair fall of snow further out of the city. The Great Wall is an unforgettable experience when hot and sunny, with snow on the mountains .......well.....you can tell how excited I am!
Emperor Ming Memorial Temple